Narayan Tyagi, Claims to be a Former Muslim Who Cornered Islam in India

Narayan Tyagi, Claims to be a Former Muslim Who Cornered Islam in India

Police in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand registered a case after a gathering of hardline Hindu leaders calling for violence against Muslims. Video of the meeting showing the provocative speech went viral earlier this week, sparking outrage.

The event took place in Haridwar City between 17-19 December. However, the police said they did not open the case until last Thursday (23/12), because there was no official complaint before that.

Ummatimes - As quoted from the BBC, Friday (12/24), there have been no arrests to date, and the police only named one person named Waseem Rizvi who claimed to be Muslim and had converted to Hinduism and is now known as Jitendra Narayan Tyagi. He is the former head of the council that manages property belonging to Shia Muslims. Earlier this month he said he had left Islam and converted to Hinduism.

Police said a case had been registered against Tyagi and another unnamed person on charges of promoting hatred between religious groups.

However, social media users have identified multiple speakers in the video. The figure is a religious leader who is often seen with ministers and members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The NDTV report stated that one of the organizers of Haridwar's event, Prabodhanand Giri, often took pictures with the BJP party leader. In one photo, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami, a BJP politician, is seen touching his feet.

At the event, Giri was seen asking Indian soldiers, politicians and Hindus to take action against Myanmar. The request refers to the deadly violence against Rohingya Muslims that led to the exodus from the country. Giri said he was not afraid of the police and stood by his statement.

Another speaker, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, has made several anti-Muslim statements in the past. During Haridwar's event, he called on Hindus to take up arms to protect religion from Muslims.

Former BJP spokeswoman Ashwini Upadhyay was also seen at the event. He said in a video posted on Twitter that he was only present for half an hour on the final day. Upadhyay had been arrested in August in connection with a protest in the national capital, Delhi, where anti-Muslim slogans were raised.

Senior police official Ashok Kumar told BBC Hindi that such provocative statements were false. "So we also ask that the video be blocked on social media," he said.

Activists say the frequency of hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities has increased since 2014, when the BJP first came to power. Videos of hate speech or violence against Muslims regularly go viral in India. Critics allege that this was due to the both overt and tacit support the perpetrators received from ruling party leaders.