How the UP govt is trying every trick to save Yogi Adityanath in hate speech case

Parvez Parwaz

By Siddhant Mohan,

A couple of weeks ago, the Uttar Pradesh police arrested Parvez Parwaz, a journalist and civil rights activist from Gorakhpur over alleged rape charges. The lawsuit and subsequent arrest of Parwaz are much debated as Yogi Adityanath, the state’s chief minister, is facing a lawsuit over a hate speech case based on a petition filed by Parwaz.

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The police named 64-year-old Parwaz and Mahmood alias Jumman for allegedly raping a woman based on a case filed on June 4. While Parwaz was arrested on September 25, the Allahabad High Court stayed the arrest of Jumman.

On May 4, 2017, a division bench of Allahabad High Court, comprised of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice UC Srivastava, summoned Uttar Pradesh Chief secretary in connection with the 2007 Gorakhpur communal riot case, in which the then Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath was named as the chief accused.

The bench had directed the Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh to appear before the court in person and file an affidavit with all the relevant documents related to 2007 riots, as well as documents relating to the grant of prosecution sanction under Section 153A of Indian Penal Code. The court order came on the petition filed by Pervez Parwaz and Asad Hayat,

In January 2007, tensions escalated between Hindu and Muslim communities of Gorakhpur before the Muharram procession. Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath sat on dharna with members of Hindu Yuva Vahini. On the night of January 7, 2007, Yogi Adityanath allegedly delivered an inflammatory speech near the Gorakhpur railway station in the presence of member assembly Radhe Mohan Das and Mayor Anju Chaudhary. He had said that he would not let Muslims raise the Tazia and would play Holi with their blood.

After the speech, the crowd had set fire to the shops of Muslims chanting inflammatory slogans – Katue kate jayenge, Ram Ram chillayenge (Muslims will be butchered and cry Ram-Ram). The police imposed a curfew and Yogi was arrested later for violating and breaking the curfew. He was charged and jailed under Section 153A, Sections 146, 147, 279, 506 of the IPC.

The angry mob set ablaze the coaches of Mumbai-Gorakhpur Godan express. In the days that followed, several mosques, buses, trains, and several other public properties were damaged. Apart from Gorakhpur, anti-Muslim violence also spread to the neighboring areas including Deoria, Padrauna, Maharajganj, Basti, Sant Kabeer Nagar and Siddartha Nagar districts.

Social activist Pervez Parwaz and Asad Hayat filed a petition in Allahabad High Court seeking direction for FIR to be filed. But the court rejected the plea and directed to follow the procedure under Section 156 (3).

In April 2017, the Allahabad High Court asked the state government to file a reply within three weeks over the CBCID investigation into the case against Yogi Adityanath and others under section 153 (A), however, the state government submitted in the High Court that Yogi Adityanath could not be tried in the case.

What makes Parwaz vulnerable?

Parvez Parwaz has been a thorn in Yogi Adityanath’s  flesh since 2007 when Yogi Adityanath gave the inflammatory speech in Gorakhpur. Despite many hiccups, the case against Yogi Adityanath in the same regard was lodged based on the FIR by Parvez Parwaz and Asad Hayat. Rajeev Yadav, the founder-convener at Lucknow-based human rights organisation Rihai Manch recalls, “The FIR by Pervez Parwaz is so peculiar…I have not seen such FIRs in my life,” talking about the 20-page FIR against Yogi Adityanath.

According to our sources, both Parvez Parwaz and Asad Hayat were under a lot of pressure for the past few years after pursuing the case against Yogi Adityanath. Both were threatened at several points to withdraw the case but to no effect.

A senior police officer in Gorakhpur told on the condition of anonymity, “We were specifically told many times to pursue Parwaz for asking him the withdraw the case against Yogi ji. But Parwaz has been a stubborn figure against the police department. The local police soon came to know that it was hard to move Parwaz from his attempts to sue Maharaj ji (Yogi Adityanath).”

YD Singh, former member of legislative council from Gorakhpur and also co-accused in the 2007 case against Yogi Adityanath, has threatened Parwaz several times in the past. At one point in time, Singh tried to file an FIR against Parwaz in order to derail the investigation against Yogi Adityanath. Singh told the Chief Judicial Magistrate at Gorakhpur that the CD which contained proof of Yogi Adityanath inciting violence and used as evidence was obtained through unfair means.

Singh also tried to malign the image of Parwaz by telling CJM that Parwaz is a communal figure, and he allegedly protested the hanging of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi President. Singh also accused Parwaz of burning the shops in Muslim locality, which were actually set ablaze by other community following remarks of Yogi Adityanath. However, the CJM rejected the plea of Singh.

The recent rape case against Parwaz and his alleged friend was actually registered in June 2018 this year. The Police investigated the complaint and found that the case was fake. Moreover, Police also submitted its final report in the case, stating that the rape case against Parwaz and Jumman was fake.

According to our sources, Yogi Adityanath took interest in the case and asked to re-open the investigation in August 2018. The crucial point to be taken into account is that it was Yogi’s interest in the case after which it was to be re-investigated, despite the police already filing a Final Report stating the case to be filed on fake grounds.

This is exactly what makes the case investigation and the subsequent arrest of Parwaz look fishy. Despite a final report already being submitted in the case, the police filed another final report in the case on August 12 without naming the Judicator in the case. And six days later, SSP Gorakhpur issued the order based on the report submitted on August 12. However the name of the Judicator is not known till date.

It is important to point that during an investigative process, one final report has to be rejected first by a higher body in order to accept the other final reports if the case is meant to be reopened. But in Parwaz’s case, the previous final report by the Investigating Officer—in which the case was attributed as fake—was not rejected before having the next final report into consideration. Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch said, “That is where the problem lies. It was done in a hurry without taking the legal process into account.”

Yadav further stated, “The hurry could be justified by the fact that the hate speech case 2007 against Yogi Adityanath was to be heard in Supreme Court on August 13, so one final report was submitted on August 12.”

Advocate Farham Ahmad Naqvi is pursuing the same case in Allahabad High Court. Naqvi has raised the issue of the final report in the court and the matter is currently sub-judice.

Parwaz has a long association with Rihai Manch, and the outfit feels that implicating Parwaz in the rape case is an attempt by Yogi Adityanath to put more pressure on him.

On October 3, Rehana Begum, wife of Parvez Parwaz wrote to the National Human Rights Commission alleging that after implicating Parwaz in a “false” case, Gorakhpur Police is threatening her and her sons of implicating them in fake cases, so that they can force Parwaz to take back the case against Yogi Adityanath. She wrote, “There is not a single case over me or my sons. But Gorakhpur Police is conspiring to implicate us in fake cases, and threatening us so that Parvez Parwaz would take the case back filed against Yogi Adityanath and others.”

Rehana Begum’s letter to NHRC

The letter accompanies a video of Rehana Begum stating the same before the camera.The case against Parwaz was filed on June 4 under Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code at the Rajghat Police Station of Gorakhpur. The SHO at Rajghat PS investigated the matter, stating that the incident was fictitious and expunged the FIR submitting his report before the court.

The report filed by the SHO stated that the place of incident accusing Parwaz is a marketplace and crowded most of the time of the day, including at the time mentioned in the FIR against Parwaz. Moreover, the SHO also stated that the location of both the accused during the time mentioned in FIR is far from the place of incident and this is supported by proof.

Shalabh Mathur, SSP at Gorakhpur, handed over the matter to Shalini Singh, the SHO at Women Police Station, who said on August 12 that matter was superficially investigated previously, and that is why it was closed. In a Facebook post, Parvez Parwaz had said that the order to re-investigate the case is a sign that he could be implicated.

Screenshot of FB Post by Parwaz

Parwaz is friends with Jumman, the co-accused in the rape case, who has been fighting a case with the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board in Allahabad High Court pertaining to Hazrat Baba Mubarak Khan Shaheed mosque. Parwaz wrote that he did not have any involvement in the mosque dispute, he was implicated because of his friendship with Jumman. Sources inform that by implicating Parwaz and Jumman both, Yogi government trying to solve two cases with one case.

Muhammad Shoaib, a senior lawyer based in Lucknow, said in a statement, “Police is systemically harassing Parwaz and his family members to get rid of the case against Yogi Adityanath. This is all on directions of Yogi Adityanath.”

One son of Parwaz is physically handicapped and can neither speak nor listen. According to the local sources, the family is frightened after police threats and has not been able to stay home.