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Blasphemy and Hate Speech as Synonyms a Misconception

A Blasphemy law is a law prohibiting Blasphemy. Where Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity, or sacred things,or something considered sacred or inviolable.

History of Hate Speech Laws in India

There is really an interesting story behind the implementation of these laws, set in the period of confrontation between Arya Samaji Hindus and Muslims in the1920's Punjab.

In the year 1923,Bhartiya Hindu Shuddhi Mahasabha was pushing the agenda of re-conversion aggressively. This movement was facing a stiff opposition from Sunni, Ahmaddiya, Christian, Orthodox-Hindu and Sikh Organizations. Several books were being written down by people of different faiths to demonize the other's faith.

A Pamphlet was Published by a Muslim, depiciting the Hindu Goddess Sita with some Derogatory remarks.to retaliate this action,a book RangilaRasul was written by an anonymous Arya Samaji & was published by Mahashe Rajpal.

(RangilaRasul had a surface appearance of a lyrical and laudatory work on Muhammad and his teachings;for example it began with a poem which says:
The bird serves my Rangila Rasul and calls Muhammad a widely experienced.

Person who was best symbolized by his many wives, in contrast with the lifelong Celibacy of Hindu Saints. Rajpal was arrested.since the book didn't promoted enmity or hatred between different religious communities, it didn't violated section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code.

Therefore Rajpal was acquitted by the court. Many Muslim organizations demanded a law against insult to religious feelings and started a movement demanding that the book be banned .on failing to fulfill the demand ,a young Muslim lad ilm-ud-din(4th December 1908-31st October 1929)murdered the publisher Afraid of Possibility of riots, in 1927,the British Government enacted section 295(A)of the Indian Penal Code.

The Selection committee before enactment of the law ,stated in its report that the purpose was to punish people who indulge in creating hatred between two religions, or attack upon the religious figures of the particular community. it however added that a writer might insult a religion to facilitate social reform by grabbing attention Therefore, it recommended that the words with deliberate and malicious intention be inserted in the section. inspired from this law, section 66A was added in the Information Technology Act,2000.Due to lack of exact definition for blasphemy it is also frequently misused by religious fanatics.

What does Indian Law say about blasphemy?

There is no such offence in Indian law. Although originated in Christian Therocracy, it is now mainly the problem of Islamic countries. there is class of Indians who mistakenly believe that section 295A of the Indian Penal Code is about blasphemy although this word never occurs in it.

Section 295A says that whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words either spoken or written, insults or attempts to insult the religion or religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished.

Important here is to note that the intention is the essential ingredient.which makes a big difference Blasphemy is a Concept originated from the religions of the book.here the three entities are beyond challenge. The God, The Prophet and The Book.thus, in Pakistan, if some Atheist after a careful research says;there is no Allah and what Mohammad heard was an illusion ,he will be guilty but not in India. irrespective of intentions if a person denies the truth of the big three ,he has blasphemed.

Case Law for Section 295A IPC

Shri.Chetan S/O Maruti Honnagal v/s The State Of Karnataka (High Court Of Karnataka)

Facts of the case:

Case is About the Anticipatory Bail Application

The complaint is loged by one shri Chandra Shekhar Bapu Munde of Prabhuwadi in Chikkodi Taluka ,who is the complainant .it is stated that he is a leader of Hanabar Community and Lord Krishna is his family deity.

This being the fact accused no 1 Ravindra Harohalli, with an intention to outrage religious feelings used vulgar and malicious words against his family deity lord Krishna and circulated the same on facebook .it is further alleged that present petitioner chetan forwarded the same through whatsapp to one Dnyaneshwar Khade of his acquaintance, Not only that,the accused challenged the Hanabar community people to come for protest if they feel humiliated. based on the said complaint the case came to be registered against the accused for the aforesaid offence.it is also stated that the petitioner is alleged that of forwarding the messages.

Interesting fact of this case is, how learned High Court Government Pleader who was from the side of the state helped the petitioner in getting Anticipatory Bail his wordings are as follows “In the context and circumstances, at this stage I am of the sincere view that apart from welfare of the accused and the complainant another supporters, what is required peace and tranquillity in the society however, the offence under the section 295A of the IPC is non-bailable and punishable with imprisonment for three years.one cannot spur the lull thereby plant disturbance and hatred in the society just for sadistic pleasure. considering the status of the circumstances and in the ends of justice, equality and in the larger interest of the society, it appears just and proper to grant anticipatory bail.

It is seen from the above case that instead of defending the state the government pleader under the name of society's peace defended the petitioner which will make the petitioner free to commit such crimes again.

Blasphemy Case in Saudi Arabia

Shankar ponnamwas an Indian agricultural engineer whose religion was Hindu posted on social media a photoshopped image of the Hindu Deity Shiva Sitting at top of Thekaaba, the holiest site in Islam.A group of Indian Muslim filmed themselves beating Ponnam and posted the video on social media .ponnam was arrested at a farm near Riyadh on Charges of blasphemy. he reportedly was sentenced to four months in prison and a fine of 5000 Saudi Riyals (approximately $1350).

Blasphemy Case in Pakistan

After getting into a dispute with fellow farmhands in 2009, Aasia Bibi was accused of Blasphemy. In November 2010 a judge sentenced her to death by hanging and to pay a fine roughly $1000. In October 2015,She was placed in Isolation reportedly for her own safety as other prisoners convicted of blasphemy had been killed while in prison.

After a series of unsuccessful appeals and public outcry from the international community and high –profile figures in Pakistan, the supreme court suspended the death sentence pending appeal in October 2016,the Pakistani supreme court delayed Ms.Bibi's final appeal hearing after a judge rescued himself, she remains imprisoned and the hearing has not yet been rescheduled.

Conclusion
I would like to conclude by quoting a thought by John Henrik Clarke he says:
Anytime someone says your God is ugly and you release your God and join their God, there is no hope for your freedom until you once more believe in your own concept of the Deity.

Some strict Blasphemy laws should be implemented by our Indian judiciary and Government not as strict as Pakistan but such that will prohibit the so called politicians who create hatred in particular religions for there vote banks.

Also Artists and Films which are portraying our deities in bad manner under the freedom of speech and expression granted by our constitution should be stopped some incidences are like MF Hussain Paintings or PK Film, if film is promoting a noble cause by showing ill effects of black magic and how animal killings under the name of God is not good it should be promoted.

The law should be same for all Religions as India Is a Secular Country the State should not act only on the account of majority community having riots on religious hatred but should also focus on minority communities.

References:

  1. Shuddi-Wikipedia
  2. RangilaRasul-Wikipedia
  3. Ilm-Ud-Din-Wikipedia
  4. Hate Speech Laws In India –Wikipedia
  5. Thou Shalt not Blaspheme
  6. Thoughts by Nand Kumar Singh former Director General at Indian Police Service.
  7. Shri Chetan s/o MarutiHonnagalvs The State of Karnataka
  8. Blasphemy in Saudi Arabia,Pakistan (United State Commission on International Religious Freedom)

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