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Hate Speech triggering a Diplomatic Storm

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June 07, 2022

Why in news?

The Government’s decision to take a stern view of hate speech targeting religious beliefs to assert India’s traditional values of tolerance and respect for all religions is welcome.

What is the issue?

  • A leader from ruling party had made objectionable remarks against Prophet Muhammad during a television debate on an English news channel.
  • It happened during during a debate on the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute.
  • The episode spurred criticisms and protests by the Islamic community leading to the suspension of the leader from the party.
  • An FIR was filed under Indian Penal Code
    • Section 153A -promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, language, etc.
    • Section 295 - deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings
    • Section 505 - statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes

What is hate speech?

  • There is no specific legal definition of ‘hate speech’.
  • According to Law commission report, hate speech is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief and the like.
  • Hate speech can be of any form (writings, actions, signs and representations).
  • Sections 153A and 505 of IPC deal with inflammatory speeches and expressions.

To know more about hate speech, click here

What was the reaction of foreign countries against the remarks?

  • The remarks against Prophet Muhammad caused uproar in the Arab world where hashtags calling for the boycott of Indian products are trending on Twitter.
  • Qatar and Kuwait summoned India’s Ambassadors and demanded a public apology from New Delhi for the comments that were considered Islamophobic.
  • Even, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia slammed for the remarks made.
  • The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a strong condemnation against the remarks.
  • The Ministry of Foreign affairs reaffirmed its permanent rejection of prejudice against the symbols of Islamic religion and refuses to prejudice all religious figures and symbols.

 

References

  1. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/delayed-response/article65500883.ece
  2. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjps-nupur-sharma-booked-by-mumbai-police-over-objectionable-remarks/article6547311ece
  3. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/explained-nupur-sharmas-communal-remarks-over-prophet-mohammed-all-about-the-controversy-and-ongoing-protests-article-92025404

 

Quick facts

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

  • The OIC is formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
  • It is the world’s second largest inter-governmental organisation after the UN, with a membership of 57 states.
  • Headquarters- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Its objective is to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • OIC has reserved membership for Muslim-majority countries.
  • Russia, Thailand, and a couple of other small countries have Observer status.
  • India is not a member of OIC.
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