NEW DELHI – India’s top court on Wednesday announced to take up a petition against Hindu religious leaders for provoking their followers for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims at a three-day hate speech conclave last month.

Three judges of the Indian Supreme Court said they were issuing a notice to the Uttarakhand state government that they will probe the matter next week.

In December last year, leaders of several Hindu groups with ties to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had called for ethnic cleansing of minorities especially Muslims in India in an event that sparked widespread outrage and calls for action against them.

The three-day hate speech conclave was held by the controversial Hindutva figure Yati Narsinghanand from December 17 to 19 in northern India’s Haridwar city where multiple speakers made calls to kill minorities and attack their religious spaces.

A retired Indian judge, Anjana Prakash, has filed the petition stating that hate speeches made by Hindu religious leaders “pose a grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of our country but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens”.

Earlier this month, Former Indian naval chief Admiral Arun Prakash warned that India could descend into civil war as political leadership failed to condemn the recent genocide calls against Muslims by right-wing leaders.

Speaking with The Wire, the former senior military commander questioned the silence from the country’s political leadership after calls for ethnic cleansing.

Prakash termed the silence ‘ominous’ saying there should be outright condemnation and firm action. He warned that the next step could be conflict. When asked if this meant India could face a civil war, he said yes, indeed.

The ex-top naval commander along with three other former Naval chiefs and a former Indian Air Force chief wrote an open letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President about the calls for genocide and ethnic cleansing. He also revealed that not a single former Indian army chief was willing to sign the letter.

When asked if he received any response from either, he replied, “None so far (and) it’s futile to expect one”.

Call for genocide and ethnic cleansing is something they agree with or because they are apprehensive of the consequences of signing such a letter, he opined in an exclusive interview with an Indian leading publication.

He mentioned that soldiers from all faiths are serving in forces. “Think what goes on in a soldier’s mind? Such talk will send a message of deep disquiet to the armed forces”, he said.

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