January 30, 2023

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Monk arrested in India for calling Muslims genocidal

New Delhi (AP) – A Hindu monk was arrested in India on Monday on charges of inciting religious hatred after calling the country’s Muslims “genocidal,” authorities said on Monday.

Yati Narasinganand Giri, a supporter of far-right nationalists, was arrested after speaking at a rally of supporters, police official Swadanthira Kumar said.

Giri was arrested on Saturday on charges of first insulting women. The next day he was produced in court in Haridwar, where he was sentenced to 14 days in jail for hate speech against Muslims.

Kumar, who called himself a “re-offender”, said Kumar was formally charged on Monday for “inciting hatred between different groups based on their religion”. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

In December, Giri and other religious leaders called on Hindus to commit “genocide” against Muslims in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, according to a police file. He is the second person to be arrested in the case since the Supreme Court of India held a hearing last week.

Uttarakhand is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu nationalist party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party’s rise in 2014 and its landslide re-election in 2019 led to attacks on Muslims and other minorities.

Muslims make up 14% of India’s 1.4 billion people, a country with a Hindu majority, and have always been known for its multiculturalism.

The three-day conference, organized by Kiril, was dubbed the “Quality Council” or “Parliament of Religions” and follows years of anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The event made a clear call for violence against Muslims. Videos taken at the scene show several Hindu monks, some of whom are closely associated with Modi’s party, claiming that Hindus have a duty to kill Muslims.

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Reporter Sonzhui Nakashangwa contributed to this story.