NEW DELHI: In a shocker, the Modi government has told the Supreme Court that a book on terrorism authored by Bharatya Janata Party’s firebrand leader Subramanian Swamy “promotes hatred between Hindus and Muslims in India.”
In its strongly-worded affidavit, the home ministry said that Swamy’s book – Terrorism in India: A Strategy of Deterrence for India’s National Security – violates Section 153A.
In June, the BJP leader had challenged the laws on hate speech, saying they violate the fundamental right to freedom of speech. Even now, he asserted that he would continue to challenge it in the apex court. The affidavit was filed in response to Swamy’s petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Indian Penal Code Section 153A on the grounds that it violates free speech.
In the book, Mr Swamy “has made hate speech against the community of India…its theme, language, its innuendoes, the similes it employs ….it falls within the provision of hate speech.”
“That the petitioner has written a book named Terrorism in India wherein he made hate speech against the community of India. The book—it’s theme, it’s language, it’s innuendos, the similes it employs and the moral of the story, if any—in order to ascertain whether the offending passages read in the context of the book as a whole fall within the mischief of section 153A,” reads the affidavit.
“The book to be considered in all its aspects as it contains matter which ‘promotes feeling of enmity and hatred between Hindus and Muslims in India.’ Therefore, the petitioner has violated sections of IPC,” reads the affidavit.
Mr Swamy, a strong defender of the Modi government, said he would go to the Prime Minister and also speak to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
“I am surprised. Even the UPA government didn’t say anything about my book. It seems there is a conspiracy against me because of my popularity,” he told NDTV.
Mr Swamy alleged that “someone from the party” might have got hold of an under-secretary to file the affidavit.
The home ministry’s affidavit opposed that petition and asked the Supreme Court to dismiss it.
This is not the first time the government has opposed Mr Swamy in the Supreme Court. Earlier, it asked the court to dismiss Mr Swamy’s petition challenging defamation laws.