Friday, September 29, 2023

Parl panel chairperson writes to Shah for taking effective steps to curb hate speech


New Delhi, January 20: The chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs Anand Sharma on Thursday urged Home Minister Amit Shah to take effective steps against hate speech and curb the practice.
The senior Congress leader has written to Shah, asking him to sensitise chief secretaries and director generals of police (DGPs) of states to take prompt and firm action against those making such speeches.
Sharma, who is deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha, has also asked the home minister to consider taking legislative action, including amendments in the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, to effectively counter all manifestations of hate speech.
Drawing Shah’s attention towards the “growing incidents of hate speech”, Sharma said these are aimed at targeting certain sections of citizens, especially minorities and women, which is a matter of serious concern.
They are also inflaming passions in order to create an environment of insecurity and distrust, he said.
“Hate speech is being used as a tool to promote enmity and disharmony among between different groups on grounds of religion, caste, ethnicity etc. In my opinion, if left unchecked, this will severely undermine the rule of law and threaten the fundamental right of life, liberty and dignity of our citizens,” Sharma said in his letter.
“I, therefore, seek your urgent intervention. It is requested that the home secretary be advised to sensitise the chief secretaries and DGPs of states to take prompt and firm action to enforce law and secure order, he said.
“Further, the government may consider legislative action including amendments in the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to effectively counter all manifestations of hate speech in the larger national interest,” the Congress leader said.
The Parliamentary Committee’s chairman said recent incidents and orchestrated acts of violence, are making headlines in both national and global media.
“They also tarnish the image of our great country, which is the world’s largest democracy. Free speech, through the quintessence of democracy and enshrined in the Constitution, cannot be allowed to be misused to advocate, incite, promote or justify hatred and violence against a person or community, “he said.
It is imperative that the spirit of the Constitution is reaffirmed and protected, Sharma asserted. (PTI)