Hindu religious leader jailed for hate speech

Hyderabad, Jan 14 (IANS) Hindu religious leader Swami Kamlananda Bharati was Monday sent to jail for allegedly making a hate speech and promoting enmity on grounds of religion and race.

Bharati, who was arrested in Srisailam town Sunday night, was brought to Hyderabad and produced before a magistrate, who remanded him to judicial custody for 14 days.

The president of Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samithi, a committee fighting for protection of Hindu temples, has been charged with promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

Amid tight security, the saffron-clad leader was later shifted to Cherlapally Central Jail on the city outskirts.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Hyderabad police arrested Bharati Sunday night in Srisailam town of Kurnool district, about 250 km from here.

He had allegedly made a venomous speech against the Muslim community while addressing a rally in the city on Jan 8. Cases were booked against him in Mir Chowk and Dabeerpura police stations in the old city on the complaints lodged by some organisations including Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) and Human Awakening Society, an NGO.

They alleged that Bharati made an inflammatory speech to create communal disturbances in Hyderabad.

His speech was aired on some television channels and was also posted on YouTube.

He had made the remarks at a rally was organised to condemn Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi's hate speech against Hindus. Owaisi was arrested last week.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other rightwing Hindu groups have condemned Bharati's arrest. They alleged that he was arrested on Sankranti day when he had gone to the pilgrim town of Srisaialam for performing some rituals.

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