Who is Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, the priest behind the Delhi Mahapanchayat hate speech?

A Hindu Mahapanchayat held at Delhi’s Burari Ground on 3 April has grabbed headlines after one of the speakers at the event, Yati Narsinghan...

A Hindu Mahapanchayat held at Delhi’s Burari Ground on 3 April has grabbed headlines after one of the speakers at the event, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, made another provocative speech, reiterating the call for use of weapons against Muslims and for the event itself devolving into violence with some journalists claiming they were physically assaulted.

The Delhi Police has filed three FIRs in connection with the event, saying they had denied permission for the event but the organisers still went ahead with the “Mahapanchayat Sabha” and around 700-800 people were present at the venue.

The first FIR filed by the police is filed under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to news agency PTI, the second FIR was registered on a complaint received from two journalists of a news portal.

Usha Rangnani, the deputy commissioner of police (Northwest), said, "In their complaint, they alleged that around 1.30 pm, when they were rushing towards the exit, they were manhandled and assaulted by a group of people who also tried to snatch their mobile phones and I-cards."

The third FIR was registered on another complaint received from a freelance journalist, who alleged that around 1 pm, when he and two other journalists were interviewing a man, some people assaulted him, the officer said.

The event organised by Preet Singh, president, Save India Foundation, has received a lot of traction on social media. The Mahapanchayat Sabha saw several speakers, including Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, the head priest of the Dasna Devi temple, and Suresh Chauhanke, chief editor of Sudarshan News.

According to videos circulating on social media, Yati Narsinghanand is heard saying that if the country were to get a Muslim prime minister, “50 per cent of you (Hindus) will change your faith in the next 20 years and 40 per cent “would be killed”.

“This is the future of Hindus. If you want to change this, be a man (mard bano). What is it to be a man? Someone who is armed,” he reportedly told the gathering.

"Only give birth to children, go now and give birth to children, and make your children worthy to fight," he said.
This is not the first time that Yati Narsinghanand has been caught making intemperate remarks or inciting hate.

The head of the influential Dasna Devi Temple in Uttar Pradesh was arrested and is out on bail for organising an event last year in Haridwar that featured calls for genocide of Muslims. The event, had invoked fury and ire from all sections of society, with even former tennis ace Martin Navratilova questioning comments being made at the event.

Born in Meerut, he has been at the Dasna Devi temple since 2007. A Times of India report states that the now 58-year-old was born Deepak Tyagi.

He renamed himself Deependra Narayan Singh during the period of taking his 'sanyas' before settling on Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati.

He claims to have left India in 1989 to pursue a chemical technology course in Moscow. He says he graduated in 1994 and worked as an engineer before returning to India in 1997 when his mother fell ill.

On his return to India, he claims, he was approached by the Samajwadi Party “to lead their youth brigade”.

Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati was ordained as the mahamandaleshwar of Juna Akhara, the largest recognised sect of Hindu seers in the country in October 2021. Image Courtesy: Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati/Facebook

Not much is known about the years following his return to India, but in 2019, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati was labelled a “serial troublemaker” by the Uttar Pradesh Police for his repeated attempts to incite communal tensions.

He was then elevated to the position of the mahamandaleshwar of Juna Akhara, the largest recognised sect of Hindu seers in the country, in October 2021.

The Dasna temple priest has been extremely provocative in the past. He has said that he has always been fighting to create an “Islam-mukt Bharat”.

His statements haven’t only been trained at Muslims; in August of 2021, a video of his went viral on social media which recorded him saying: “Women politicians, particularly in the BJP, are rakhails (mistresses) of their male counterparts.”

In the past, he called a 10-year-old Muslim boy “a trained killer” for wandering in the vicinity of the Dasna Devi temple. The boy, police later confirmed, had got lost on his way to the community health centre, where his pregnant sister-in-law was admitted, and accidentally entered the temple.

He hogged the national headlines for the inflammatory comments he made at the Haridwar ‘Dharm Sansad’ in December last year. While speaking at the event, he apparently called for the genocide and use of arms against Muslims.

Narsinghanand was also seen to be offering Rs 1 crore to Hindu youth for becoming like LTTE leader Prabhakaran as he called upon Hindu youth to become “Prabhakaran” and “Bhindranwale”.

“When we needed help, the Hindu community did not help us. But if any youth worker is prepared to become the Hindu Prabhakaran, then before anyone else, I will give him Rs 1 crore… if anyone takes on the responsibility to become the Prabhakaran of the Hindus, I will give Rs 1 crore, and if he continues for one year, I will raise at least Rs 100 crore to give,” he had said at the conclave.

He’s also taken aim at the Supreme Court of India, saying, “Those who believe... in the Supreme Court, and in the Army, will all die the death of a dog.”

In comments that were circulated on social media in January of this year, he said that he had no trust in the apex court and the Constitution. “This Constitution is book for the murder of 100 crore Hindus. Those who believe in it will be killed. Those who believe in this system, police, politicians and Army, They will die like a dog,” he was quoted as saying.

With inputs from agencies

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