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Over 100 MPs and MLAs in India Face Hate Speech Cases, Says Election Watchdog

Hate speech or making provocative statements with an intent to cause harm to a person or community is an offence in India. (Image for Representation/ Reuters)

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) have uncovered a concerning trend in Indian politics, with a total of 107 Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) facing hate speech cases against them. Additionally, 480 candidates with such cases contested elections in the past five years, according to the poll rights body’s analysis of self-sworn affidavits.

The ADR and NEW meticulously analyzed the self-sworn affidavits of all the incumbent MPs and MLAs, as well as unsuccessful candidates in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections held in the country over the last five years.

The analysis revealed that many elected lawmakers, responsible for shaping the nation’s policies, have declared cases related to “hate speech” against themselves. This alarming trend is based on the affidavits submitted by MPs and MLAs before the last elections they contested.

According to the analysis, 33 MPs have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves. This includes seven from Uttar Pradesh, four from Tamil Nadu, and three each from Bihar, Karnataka, and Telangana. Additionally, two MPs from Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and West Bengal, and one MP each from Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, and Punjab are embroiled in such cases.

In the last five years, 480 candidates with declared cases related to hate speech have contested elections to state assemblies, the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha, as reported by the ADR.

Surprisingly, 22 MPs with cases related to hate speech are affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while two belong to the Congress. There is one member each from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), AIMIM, AIUDF, DMK, MDMK, PMK, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), and the VCK, along with one Independent MP, facing similar allegations.

At the state level, 74 MLAs have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh lead the list with nine MLAs each, followed by six from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Telangana. Five MLAs each from Assam and Tamil Nadu, and four each from Delhi, Gujarat, and West Bengal are among those facing such allegations. Jharkhand and Uttarakhand have three MLAs each, while two MLAs come from Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Tripura. Additionally, there is one MLA each from Madhya Pradesh and Odisha with similar cases.

Twenty MLAs with cases related to hate speech are affiliated with the BJP, while thirteen belong to the Congress. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has six such MLAs, with five each from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP). The DMK and RJD have four each, and the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) and Shiv Sena (SHS) have three each. Two MLAs come from the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), and one each from the AIMIM, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Tipra Motha Party, and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), along with two Independent MLAs.

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