TWO YEARS AFTER the Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra gave a threatening speech about protesters in northeastern Delhi, precipitating three days of communal violence, Yati Narsinghanand delivered yet another incendiary speech in the national capital. At a Hindu Mahapanchayat attended by around three hundred people, on 3 April 2022, Narsinghanand, the head of the Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad, claimed, “Once a Muslim becomes the prime minister of India, in twenty years, fifty percent of you will change your religion. Forty percent of Hindus will be murdered.”
Three months earlier, Narsinghanand had been arrested by the Uttarakhand Police for calling for a genocide of Muslims at a similar public meeting in Haridwar. Despite international outrage, he was released on bail within a month. His arrest did not dilute his vitriol. “If you want to change this future, become men,” he said at the Hindu Mahapanchayat in Delhi. “He who is armed is a man.”
Mishra’s speech, in February 2020, had been made in the presence of a senior Delhi Police official. There were at least thirty police personnel at the Mahapanchayat where Narsinghanand spoke, even though it was held without requisite permission. Despite live media coverage of the event, the Delhi Police did little to halt it, though the police did subsequently register first-information reports. This was among the many episodes over the past two years that have made it evident that the Delhi Police is doing little to stop the escalation of communal tensions in the capital.