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Who is Narsinghanand Saraswati, the hate-spewing priest?
On a number of occasions, Saraswati’s name has come up in connection with raising of communal tensions
Dasna Devi Temple head priest Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, known for his hate-spewing remarks, recently courted controversy by making derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). In a video that was doing rounds on social media, the religious leader can be heard attacking Prophet Muhammad and the Muslim community. The video was purportedly shot during an event at the Press Club of India.
Following this, there was a social media outrage and on Saturday, April 3, the Delhi police filed a first information report (FIR) against Narsinghanand for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
The FIR against the priest was lodged under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, residence, language, etc.) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).
On April 4, the Hyderabad police also registered an FIR against him after a complaint by AIMIM Nampally legislator Jafar Hussain Meraj. The FIR was registered at Humayun Nagar police station under IPC sections 153-A and 295-A.
But, this is not the first time that Saraswati landed in a controversy for spreading communal hate. Earlier in March, his disciple, Shringi Yadav, was spotted in a video where he was reportedly seen thrashing a 14-year-old Muslim boy for allegedly entering the Dasna Devi Mandir in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh to drink water.
Since Saraswati became the temple priest, a board has been put up outside the temple, stating, “Ye mandir Hinduon ka pavitra sthal hai, yahan Musalmanon ka pravesh varjit hai (this temple is a holy place for Hindus, entry of Muslims is strictly prohibited).”
On a number of occasions, Saraswati’s name has come up in connection with raising of communal tensions in western Uttar Pradesh, including in areas adjoining Delhi.
Saraswati has also been calling for a “final war against Muslims” and has propounded that “Islam must be removed to save humanity”.
Several instances have happened in the past where his hate for Muslims was evident and is still continuing to do so.
In 2017, a video of gunshots being fired at the Dasna Devi temple went viral, exposing how people were being trained in the use of guns at the temple. On being asked if the guns being used are legal, Saraswati’s response was, “License? When the war with ISIS begins, these laws won’t make a difference.”
Who is Narsinghanand and why is he a serial troublemaker?
Narsinghanand, a Russian-educated engineer who has worked in Moscow and London, claims to be a former member of the Samajwadi Party. According to a report by The Print, he completed his Master’s from what was then known as Moscow Institute of Chemical Machine Building. Once he completed his course, he apparently worked “as an engineer and headed marketing teams” at several companies in the Russian capital as well as in London. After over nine years abroad, he returned to India in 1997.
During an interview with the publication in 2019, Saraswati opened up about several aspects of his life and even revealed that he wasn’t always a Muslim hater. In one incident, a Ghaziabad college allegedly approached him and complained about harassment by a group of Muslim men he hung out with.
“She told me that those were the same Muslim men I roamed around with. I was shaken,” he said. “She told me that I was responsible for her misery. It shook me from within,” he added.
“That day I thought, what if these Muslims do the same to my daughter… That is when I began this fight for Islam-mukt (Islam-free) Bharat,” he said.
Hindus, Narsinghanand added, should pick up arms. “It is time for revenge,” he said. “I do not regret anything I said. I have now taken this work, to eliminate Islam from this earth, in my hands, and I will do it.”