The panchayat, organised by members of the All India Sanatan Federation and Dev Sena, was attended by over 200 people from Palwal, Tigra and nearby villages of south Haryana. The Jantar Mantar panchayat was the third such meet in three weeks. The last two Sundays saw two similar panchayats in Tigra and Palwal. Despite repeated warnings from police, speakers at these meets called out members of one community and asked the participants to pick up arms against them if needed.
At Jantar Mantar on Sunday, Delhi Police had allowed the organisers to hold the panchayat till 1pm, provided only 100 people attended the event and no one resorted to any hate speech. A huge police force was deployed around the area to maintain law and order.
However, as the participants took the stage one by one, they made provocative comments that could foment communal tension. At one point, a police officer snatched the mike from Vishnu Gupta, the Hindu Sena chief.
“The country was divided on the basis of religion. As long as we don’t get rid of them, the partition is incomplete,” Gupta told the gathering at the beginning of his speech. “Nuh has become the hub of terrorism and cybercrime. It needs to be merged with Gurgaon and Palwal so that the area is managed properly. A CRPF camp and Army cantonment should be set up there as well.”
As Gupta continued with his speech, the police intervened and got him off the stage.
The cops, however, had to stop the panchayat after a speech by Yati Narsinghanand of the Hindu Raksha Dal.
“Today, religious processions are being pelted with stones. If this situation continues, we don’t know what will happen in the polls of 2029, who will become the PM then,” said Narsinghanand, the mahant of the Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad who has been booked earlier too for his provocative speeches.
When the priest openly called for violence, the cops whisked him away and asked the participants to leave the venue around 12.30pm. By then, seven members of various outfits had spoken.
Hate speeches have been part of gatherings in the region, especially in the aftermath of the Nuh riots. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had asked state governments to ensure no hate speech was allowed in any gathering in Delhi-NCR. The police in Haryana have been keeping tabs on provocative social media posts and videos that can incite tension. So far, 39 FIRs have been lodged in Haryana and 11 arrests made for hate speeches and incendiary content on social media.
Arun Jaildar, the head of an organisation with sarpanches from 52 villages, said the remarks made at Jantar Mantar were “unintended”. “Yes, the matter went out of hand. We had to take over the stage and urge people to refrain from making communally sensitive statements. Instead of focusing on the problems in Nuh, some people delivered speeches to get into the limelight. The police had to stop the panchayat midway,” Jaildar, the organiser of the previous two panchayats, told TOI.
Brijbhushan Saini, who heads the Dev Sena, said they would organise another panchayat soon and submit a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister with their list of demands.
A Delhi Police officer said the remarks were “spontaneous”. “Jantar Mantar is a designated place for people to protest. When the participants indulged in controversial remarks, we took prompt action,” the officer said.