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SC rejects plea to ban book by Tyagi alias Wasim Rizvi

New Delhi, September 03 (KMS): The Supreme Court of India has rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) asking for a ban on the book ‘Muhammad’. It also refused to order the arrest of the book’s author, Jitendra Tyagi alias Wasim Rizvi, and the controversial head priest of Ghaziabad’s Dasna Devi temple, Yati Narsinghanand, for hate speech.

The book on the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), written in Hindi, was reportedly published in November last year.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by the Indian Muslim Shia Isna Ashari Jamaat, a Shia religious organisation. The petition asked the court to order Tyagi and Narsinghanand’s “preventive arrest” and restrain them “making incendiary and hurtful remarks against the religion of Islam”. Tyagi, a former chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board, was converted to Hinduism by Narsinghanand last year.

The petition, which was filed in February, this year, described the Tyagi and Narsinghanand as a “threat to the security and integrity, the social harmony and public peace and to the law-and-order situation”.

Both Tyagi and Narsinghanand have been making hate speeches in the past and were arrested in January for making provocative speeches at the ‘Dharam Sansad’ held in Haridwar city of the India state of Uttarakhand in December last year. At this assembly, the speakers had called for genocide of Muslims.

In May, Tyagi was granted bail on medical grounds for three months. On 29 August, the Supreme Court refused to extend his bail and told him to surrender by 2 September. The court had said then that his regular bail application would be heard on 9 September. Tyagi surrendered before a Haridwar court Friday.

A similar plea was filed before the Delhi High Court last year demanding that Tyagi be restrained from “making statements and/or publishing remarks that are lascivious, prurient derogatory and hurtful, against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the religion of Islam, its followers, its tenets and/ or against the Holy Qur’an”.

The suit, filed by one Qamar Hasnain, also demanded a ban on the sale, publication, and circulation of the book. According to the Delhi High Court’s order, the petitioner in the case claimed the contents of the book “are damaging to communal peace and harmony, and uses derogatory and denigrating language against the holy Prophet (PBUH).”

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