In SC, A-G lashes out against weekly incidents of riots, intolerance

In an uncharacteristic public criticism of growing violence, intolerance and rioting in the country, Attorney-General of India K.K. Venugopal on Friday told the Supreme Court that there is an incident of major rioting every week in the country.

Appearing before a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Mr. Venugopal pointed to how a certain “group” threatened to cut-off the nose of Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone for her role in the movie Padmaavat.

Mr. Venugopal said the threat amounted to hate speech and criminal intimidation. “What has been done to that person (who threatened Ms. Padukone)?” Mr. Venugopal submitted, asking whether doing nothing about it was civilised.

Mr. Venugopal referred to how Kanwariyas had overturned cars in the Capital.

“It took five hours from Benares to Allahabad. Half of the national highway was cordoned off because of them,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud remarked.

“There is an incident of major rioting every week, even by educated groups. Marathas in Maharashtra, SC/ST… nothing is done,” Mr. Venugopal said.

“What is to be done?” Chief Justice Misra asked Mr. Venugopal.

“Fix the responsibility on someone! Once the responsibility is fixed on the Superintendent of Police of each district, the scenario will change. The courts can haul him up, ask him to show the videos of the incident, ask him how many FIRs have been filed, etc.,” Mr. Venugopal proposed.

“You cannot touch third-party property… for that matter you cannot burn your own house… these happenings must stop,” Chief Justive Misra observed orally.

The court was hearing a plea by Kerala-based Kodungallur Film Society, represented by advocate P.V. Dinesh, submitted that “common people think complete anarchy prevails” in the country.

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