Friday, March 31, 2023

Bengaluru tops in hate speech: what then is the way out?

Parliamentary democracy has reached its lowest point in recent times, wherein we keep witnessing all kinds of verbal and physical assaults happening in the state legislative assemblies. Both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the so-called parliamentarians are increasingly stooping down to unimaginable low exchanging harsh words against each other, which we call as unparliamentary words meaning unacceptable language or use of words. Nonetheless, hate speech has become a norm, new normal and part of parliamentary culture, wherein there is an absence of matured debates that pushes consensus and contrarian views taking place. The tenor and intensity of the usage of words sounds so harsh that manifests what’s going on inside those who freely pour out without any serious introspection.
Hatred coupled with venom is directed against a person or group of persons or a community with spite and bitterness boiling in their mind being poured out or expressed in the formats of words is called ‘hate speech’. ‘Hate speech’ has gripped the country more in the arenas of polity wherein those legislators who are elected by the people to govern the states and country have nowadays stooped so-low in spewing words against those who they think to be hit by their words. Words we use entwined with the culture that reveals one’s brought up, environ, maturity, and thought process. While delivering a speech or point of view what we want to say comes out with a structure that engulfs all those elements.
‘Hate speech’ exhibits one’s personality, maturity and his/her total being and the way one thinks about the ‘other’ be it an individual or a group or a community against whom (the other) it is unleashed. As Johann Von Goethe views that “Behaviour is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.” Speech is part of one behaviour because if someone crosses the decency in one’s t speech and enters the domains of hate speech then his/her behaviour becomes highly questionable. ‘Hate speech’ is so venomous which is accumulated in one’s mind highly corroded mindset being corrupted against someone who she/he cannot stand.
In India we find ‘hatred’ in the domains of politics where politicians belonging to political parties across the board are engaged in hate speech. They say whatever they want inside the assemblies or parliament whatever they want to say, since they are protected. Outside also they spill their sick mind against those who they hate. In fact, they are liable for punitive action but let loose because they are protected by the ruling party both in the state and at the Centre. Those engaged in ‘hate speech’ enjoy the immunity by virtue of being members of legislative assembly or parliament in reality totally immune to others’ feelings and dignity.
Bengaluru, called as ‘Silicon Valley’ of India is infested with hate speech. Bengaluru tops with 55 cases in hate speech and thus tops in hate speech. To substantiate, the government data shows that Bengaluru has accounted for the largest number of complaints filed against hate speech in Karnataka between January 2020 and January 2023. According to the latest figures released by the state home department on the 24 districts, at least 105 cases of hate speech were registered during the said period. Of these 105 cases, 55 were reported in Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka, the city I live. Other districts that follow Bengaluru are: Bidar, Kalaburagi, Shivamogga and Haveri had the maximum number of cases.
According to the home department, police officers have been directed to take cation in case of such complaints and “appropriate legal action’ is being pursued in order to ensure there is no social unrest in view of such speech. For example, since 2020, the maximum number of cases of hate speech were reported in 2022, as the figures more than doubled over the previous ear. When compared, in 2021, the number of such cases had dipped by 46% over 2020.
Few days ago, women’s rights activists, students and members of Campaign Against Hate Speech organized a protest outside the DGP of police in Bengaluru against rising number of incidences of hatred and hate speeches against minorities in Karnataka.
While submitting to the police authorities a memorandum which states: “Many of these are repeat offenders … Hate speeches like these are not only a threat to the safety of the most marginalized, but they also hurt the right to equality and dignity of the minorities.” Nevertheless, two contesting views emerge: What is hate speech and what then is free speech? On this, courts have since 1950s been keep expanding the scope of the constitutional right and more clearly defined the restrictions. The test is whether ordinary citizens will get the same protection as ministers, party bigwigs as well as those with power and authority.
In the years 2017 and 2017, cases involving two ministers—one from Uttar Pradesh and the other from Kerala who made derogatory remarks the apex court in its landmark ruling on the question whether the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression enjoyed by ministers is different from that of the ordinary citizens as those who come from a position of authority may pose restrictions be imposed on their right to free speech? The response of the court was whether a person is an ordinary citizen or a minister or whoever, their free speech under Article under Article 19(1)(a) can only be restricted on the grounds cited in Article 19(2).
In all these, the judiciary is the custodian that invokes the Constitution for its interpretation to protect the citizens irrespective of whoever that person might be. However, it should be pointed out that by the time it goes to the court of law there are many things’ happening in-between. Though the Supreme Court has provided a number of directives mandating suo motu action against the offenders, however, there are a number of aspects that need to be looked into and thus come to play. More importantly, the law enforcement agencies that invariably support the ruling parties and those fringe outfits continues to spew venom and, in the process, promotes hatred have a clear sway. This dynamic will have to be taken seriously and counter-measures be evolved in order to curb hate speeches.
Dr. John Mohan Razu

Don't Miss

Naga women object to repealing of NM Act, 2001

‘REPEAL A SERIOUS ISSUE SINCE NM ACT 2001 STILL SUB-JUDICE’ Close on the heels of the passage of the Nagaland Municipal Act (Repeal Bill 2023)...

DoE&S fetes Sethrongkyu Sangtam

Department of Economics & Statistics, organised a felicitation-cum-familiarisation programme for Advisor, Information Technology and Communication, Economics and Statistics, Evaluation, H. Sethrongkyu Sangtam at conference...

‘DAKSHATA’ trg culminates in Longleng

A three-day “DAKSHATA” training for health care providers organised by Department of Health & Family Welfare (HoH&FW) Longleng culminated Thursday at the Conference Hall,...

No chopper service from April 4 to 6

Nagaland State Transport (NST) department has notified that state helicopter service would remain requisitioned on standby from April 4-6, 2023 in connection with upcoming...

Hakhizhe branch Post Office inaugurated

Hakhizhe branch post office, under Niuland district, the 288th branch of post office in Nagaland was inaugurated by postmaster general Northeast Region-II Dimapur, Som...

Bank Sakhi aims to achieve nil NPA

Bank Sakhi in Nagaland, nurtured by Nagaland State Rural livelihoods Mission (NSRLM), during its two-day refresher training on March 29-30 at Kohima, has re-committed...
Must Read