Anti-CAA activist held over hate speech

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Margao/Ponda: The Crime Branch at Panaji on Sunday arrested anti-Citizenship Amendment Act activist Ramkrishna Jalmi, a resident of Priol, for a hate speech delivered by him during an anti-CAA meeting held in Benaulim on Saturday.

According to police, one Tanvesh Keni had lodged a complaint based on which the Crime Branch registered an offence against Jalmi.

Police inspector of Crime Branch Filomeno Costa, who is conducting investigation into the case, when contacted on Sunday confirmed that Jalmi has been arrested in connection with the hate speech made at Benaulim.

Costa said that based on the complaint, an offence under section 295A of the Indian penal code (IPC) has been registered against Jalmi for deliberate and malicious act, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. Jalmi has been also booked under section 153A of IPC, which pronounces punishment to people for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc and indulging in acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.Police said that Jalmi’s statement has been recorded.

One Gaurang Prabhu Malkarneker, a resident of Malkernem-Quepem, has also lodged a complaint against Jalmi with Colva police alleging that Jalmi delivered a hate speech. The complainant has also submitted a video clipping of Jalmi delivering hate speech at anti-CAA meeting held at Benaulim on February 29.

In his complaint, the complainant has said that as per the video clipping, Jalmi has made highly condemnable remarks against Lord Parshurama thereby hurting religious sentiments of Hindus. The complaint states that Jalmi has also made casteist remarks thereby promoting enmity and also prejudicing harmony, which attracts section 153A of IPC.

As per the complainant, Jalmi’s utterances constitute a cognisable offence under sections 295 and 298 of IPC. He has requested the Colva police to investigate conspiracy angle in the matter regarding the anti-CAA meeting that was organised at Benaulim. He has also requested the police to file a First Information Report.

When contacted, the Colva police said that they have received a complaint of Malkarneker and a case has been registered by the Crime Branch. “We have not registered any case on Sunday,” said head constable on duty.

It may be noted that a controversy erupted following an anti-CAA meet held at Dando in Benaulim on Saturday. The meet was organised by Church’s Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (Goa unit) and Concerned Citizens of Goa to create awareness and highlight the threats of CAA, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

In his speech at the meet, Jalmi allegedly spoke about Lord Parshurama, making objectionable comments about him thus hurting the sentiments of Hindus. A video of the speech went viral on social media following which several Hindu organisations and individuals came out strongly in protest against the speech. Complaints were lodged with police across the state, particularly at Mapusa and Colva, demanding arrest of Jalmi.

Earlier, taking objection to the derogatory and ‘blasphemous’ statements made by Jalmi, members of Hindu Jana Jagruti Samiti (HJJS) filed a police complaint against him on Sunday demanding action against him for hurting religious sentiments.

As per the complaint lodged by members of HJJS with the Ponda police, an anti-CAA meeting was held at Benaulim on February 29 wherein Jalmi made derogatory and blasphemous statements against Lord Parshurama.

“I was deeply shocked and my religious sentiments deeply hurt. I have faith that Bhagwan Parshuram is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Considering it, there is a need to take strict action against Jalmi for hurting religious sentiments of the people,” said Satyavijay Naik, a member of HJJS.

Along with the complaint, the HJJS members attached video footage of the stated meeting as evidence of the alleged derogatory comments made by Jalmi.

Police officer Yashwant Mandrekar said that the police are verifying the case. “Though Jalmi is from Ponda area, the incident has occurred in Benaulim and considering it, the complaint might be forwarded to the Colva police station,” he said.