BJP leader sentenced for insulting Kashmiri Muslims, ridiculing religious beliefs

Randhawa’s ‘unsavory’ remarks sparked widespread outrage with various political, social and religious organizations demanding action

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Police have registered an FIR against local BJP leader and former lawmaker Vikram Singh Randhawa for making derogatory remarks against Kashmiri Muslims, hurting their religious feelings and seeking to drive a wedge between the communities.

Meanwhile, the BJP served a show cause notice on its former lawmaker for making an “irresponsible and unwarranted” statement.

The case was registered against Randhawa at Trikuta Nagar Police Station in Jammu under Sections 295-A and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code. These provisions of the ICC cover cases relating to “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” and where a person by “words, spoken or written, or by signs or visible signs representations”, encourages or attempts to encourage a feeling of enmity, hatred or ill will”.

The FIR was recorded based on a viral video in which Randhawa can be seen and heard saying that the Kashmiri students who had celebrated India’s loss to Pakistan in the T-20 World Cup match at the beginning of the month should be flayed alive, their admissions and degrees revoked, and their citizenship and other rights taken away. He also says that Pakistani blood runs through the veins of Kashmiris and they should be beaten and skinned alive for it.

“None of them celebrated Pakistan’s victory against another country (Afghanistan). Did their mother die yesterday (that they kept silent)? It is only a victory against the Kafirs that they are celebrating. These Kaṭhamullās (religious fanatics) used to divorce by cell phone before the Triple Talaq law was enforced. They should also say namaz on WhatsApp. Why do they bend down and occupy public spaces for this? You see these Kashmiri girls wearing burqas in Jammu, but in the valley they take off their wraps while shouting pro-Pakistani slogans,” he says.

Randhawa’s “unsavory” remarks sparked widespread outrage in Kashmir with various political, social and religious organizations demanding action against him in accordance with the law. After the police registered the FIR against the leader of the BJP for hurting the religious feelings of a community and promoting a sense of enmity, some of these parties also demanded action under the relevant provisions of the law against him for seeking to incite violence against Kashmiri Muslims.

Meanwhile, after the BJP’s disciplinary committee served a show cause notice on Randhawa for delivering hate speech, its leaders said his remarks were irresponsible and unwarranted. Party sources said proceedings for a former show cause notice issued for similar reasons are still pending against him.

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Ruth R. Culp