Expressing its anguish over hate speeches, while calling these “very disturbing” and wondering “what have we reduced religion to”, the Supreme Court in interim directions on October 21 directed the police chiefs of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to take “immediate” suo motu action against the offenders by lodging criminal cases without waiting for formal complaints. It warned authorities that “any hesitation to act in accordance with this direction will be viewed as contempt of court and appropriate action shall be taken against the erring officers”.

The bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy issued directions on a petition by Shaheen Abdullah, a resident of Kozhikode in Kerala, who highlighted speeches delivered at a Virat Hindu Sabha organised by the VHP’s Delhi unit and other Hindu organisations in the Capital on October 10, and other similar petitions seeking action following hate speeches against Muslims at some Dharam Sansad events. The bench sought to know what action had been taken over hate speeches in Delhi, UP and Uttarakhand, including a recent one in which BJP leader Parvesh Verma called for “total boycott” without naming any community.

Before the bench dictated its order, Justice Joseph said, “This is the 21st century. Where have we reached? What have we reduced religion to? Article 51A speaks of scientific temper. It is tragic.”

In its order, the bench said, respondents 2 to 4 (Delhi Police Commissioner and Director Generals of Police of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh) “will file a report as to what action has been taken in regard to such acts as are the subject matter of this writ petition within their jurisdiction”. The bench said they “shall ensure that immediately as and when any speech or any action takes place which attracts offences such as Sections 153A, 153B and 295A and 505 of the IPC etc, suo motu action will be taken to register cases even if no complaint is forthcoming and proceed against the offenders in accordance with law”.


Veteran Congress leader Shivraj Patil on October 20 claimed that the concept of jihad was not just in Islam but also in Bhagavad Gita and in Christianity. “It is not just in Qur’ān, but in Mahabharata also, the part in Gita, Shri Krishna also talks of jihad to Arjun and this thing is not just in Qur’ān or Gita but also in Christianity,” he claimed in his remarks in Hindi. Speaking at the launch of Congress veteran and former Union Minister Mohsina Kidwai’s biography, the former Lok Sabha Speaker and Union Home Minister Patil stated that there is a lot of discussion of jihad in the religion of Islam. The concept comes to the fore when despite having the right intentions and doing the right thing, nobody understands or reciprocates, then it is said one can use force, he said. “Shri Krishna also talks to Arjuna about jihad. It is not like this is only in the Quran Sharif or the Gita but in Christianity also it is written…Christ has said that I have not come here to establish peace but I have come here with sword,” Patil said. Patil’s contention has created controversies in both Congress and Hindutva groups.


In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress dominated the results of elections for the posts of Panchayat Samiti chairpersons and deputy chairpersons in Nagpur district of Maharashtra. As reported, the BJP could not win a single post of chairperson and managed to secure only three seats of deputy chairperson in the elections, results of which were declared on October 15 – on the same day of voting. The Congress won nine out of 13 posts of chairperson and eight out of 13 posts of deputy chairperson in the district. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) secured three posts of chairperson, while the Shiv Sena managed to win one such post, the district officials said. The Congress won the chairperson’s post in Saoner, Kalmeshwar, Parseoni, Mouda, Kamptee, Umred, Bhivapur, Kuhi, and Nagpur Rural. The NCP won the post in Katol, Narkhed and Hingna, and the Shiv Sena won the Ramtek chairperson’s post, they said.


Mallikarjun Kharge, after he won the Congress presidential poll on October 19, has become the first non-Gandhi to lead the grand old party. He defeated Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor and got eight times more votes than him to become the president of the party. Kharge received 7897 votes while Shashi Tharoor secured merely 1,072 votes. Over 9,500 delegates across the country voted to elect the next Congress chief on October 19. The 80-year-old leader, the sixth in the party’s 137-year-old history, succeeds Sonia Gandhi at the grand old party’s highest office. Addressing a press conference after the results, Kharge said, “We all have to work like workers of the party, nobody is big or small in the party. We have to unitedly fight against the fascist forces that are attacking the democratic institutions under the garb of communalism.”


American historian and internationally acclaimed scholar of South Asian history and Islam, Barbara D Metcalf, recently received the Sir Syed Excellence International Award for 2022. Metcalf’s writing has contributed heavily to the understanding of the history of India and Pakistan’s Muslim population, especially during the colonial period. She has also worked on the Tablighi Jama’at, the international Sunni missionary movement of religious reform that originated in the Indian subcontinent. Delivering the acceptance speech after being awarded the Sir Syed Excellence Award for 2022, Prof. Metcalf on October 17 said the histories of Muslims of India were “understudied” and “were essential to telling India’s history well.”


In a tragic incident, the nation lost two worthies when a young couple died of electrocution at Khaderbagh under Langer Houz police station limits of Hyderabad on October 20. Dr. Syed Nisaruddin, 26, was a doctor working at Suryapet Government Hospital and his wife Dr. Umme Mohimeen Saimah, 24, was a final year student pursuing MBBS at Deccan Medical college. The couple, married only two months ago, was staying in an apartment in Khaderbagh area. The police suspect that the woman had first sustained electric shock from the faulty geyser wire and while trying to save his wife Nisaruddin too sustained the shock. Both died on the spot. Dr. Nisaruddin, MMBS, MD, who had also passed elementary levels of MRCP, was unit president of Muradnagar unit of Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) and his wife Dr. Saimah was State Secretary of Girls Islamic Organisation (GIO) Telangana. On October 21, Ameer Halqua Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Telangana, Maulana Hamid Mohammad Khan, led the funeral prayer of the two. Addressing the aggrieved gathering after the funeral prayer, he said the passing away of the couple was a great loss to the Islamic Movement in India.

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