NEWS: The station commander of the South African Police Service in Chatsworth, south of Durban, has received an official complaint against Reverend Llewellyn Joseph and evangelist, Simeon Bradley Chetty. The crimen injuria complaint has been lodged by the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha’s president Ram Maharaj on behalf allied Hindu bodies. In the wake of the the recent anti-Hindu utterances, religious organisations are calling for an end to the ongoing mockery that has surfaced on social media.
In a press statement released on Friday, 26 June 2020 by the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha has aligned with the South African Hindu Youth Movement who have lodged the official complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, the Film and Publication Board and social media platform, Facebook.
See below the official charge submitted to the South African Police Service,
The Sabha’s press statement went on to state that, “The anti-Hindu comments by Chetty and Joseph are hurtful, denigratory, incendiary, discriminatory and divisive. They are peddling false narratives. The statements by Chetty and Joseph amount to hate speech. Furthermore, they are in flagrant violation of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000. Freedom of expression should not impinge on the freedom of conscience of any religious group. Gone are the oppressive colonial and Apartheid regimes when Christianity ruled supreme. Today, in our new democratic, all-inclusive South Africa all religions are constitutionally accorded equal respect, status and treatment.
Hindu Dharma Sabha press statement
Other actions taken by SA Hindu organisations
While the crimen injuria charges have officially been lodged, other Hindu organisations are pressing ahead with other official complaints and legal action against Revival Ministries.
Last week, the South African presidency acknowledged a letter from Jayraj Bachu, chairperson of the Hindu Unity Movement. “The president’s office has responded by informing us that the matter has been referred to the CRL Commission for consideration. One’s relationship with God is most private and intimate. You don’t have to slander and demean the beliefs of other faiths. Putting other religions down to boost your religion is not a good quality for a spiritual person to have. We believe the time has come for the constitution to allow for more stringent and punitive measures to punish anybody, who has the temerity to denigrate any religion whatsoever.”
The office of the president has referred to matter to the CRL Commission for investigation. Bachu’s letter called on the government to ensure the review and tightening of current legislation to prevent religious defamation and Hindu bashing.
Hindu Association moving ahead with class-action lawsuit
The Chatsworth-based church organisation is also facing a class-action lawsuit, that has been filed by the Hindu Association of South Africa (HINDASA). Attorney Shamin Rampersad & Associates of Durban is acting on behalf of HINDASA and allied South African Hindu organisations, served a notice last week against the church.
The Revival Ministries church and their representatives have been requested last week to immediately “issue a written and irrevocable undertaking” to the South African community which must declare that the “organization and representatives declare” to “forthwith refrain from the aforesaid conduct uttering negative, hateful and hurtful statements relating to the Hindu religion, faith, practices and community in its entirety.”
There has been no official response from the Revival Ministries church in respect to the class-action lawsuit or the apology that has been requested by Hindu Association of South Africa.