Hindu Dharma Sabha supports hate speech bill

2017-02-09 06:01

THE powerful South African Hindu Dharma Sabha last week made a high level submission to the national Department of Justice and Constitutional Development regarding the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill 2016.

Racial and religious hate crimes and hate speech have become rampant recently hurting many people and harming our new democracy.

If the Sabha has its way and the Bill is signed into law perhaps this year anyone using “slanderous, disrespectful, abusive or insulting” words against a person or persons belonging to another religious group may be fined and/or be imprisoned for a period not exceeding three years (as a first conviction) and 10 years (for any subsequent conviction).

No one may “stir up violence against, trample upon sensitivities, undermine, make wrongful assertions constituted by untruths, distortions and concoctions, or bring into contempt, denigration or ridicule, any person or group of persons”.

Furthermore, no one may “subject any person or group of persons to unfair discrimination and overt or covert suppression in the quest for domination”.

The South African Hindu Dharma Sabha quoted as a legal precedent the charging with crimen injuria of a Christian person Johannes David Kriel by the ruling party, the ANC as well as the official opposition party, the DA. On Diwali night last year in a rant on Facebook, Kriel wrongfully labelled Hindus as “idol worshippers” and “devil disciples”. Kriel pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

It is imperative that the Prevention of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill 2016 focusing on religious and racial hate crime and hate speech is passed as soon as possible in the best interests of South Africans of all religious and racial groups.
The Bill will sterlingly enhance inter-religious harmony, inter – racial goodwill, tolerance, unity in diversity, peaceful co – existence, social cohesion, nation building and human solidarity. There will be peace, progress and prosperity in our beloved country South Africa.

Ram Maharaj – President of the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha

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