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Karnataka Court Orders Probe Against BJP Minister for Communal Hate Speech

Complainant said after Bajrang Dal leader Harsha’s death, Eshwarappa made remarks deliberately to target Muslims.

2 min read
Karnataka Court Orders Probe Against BJP Minister for Communal Hate Speech
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A Special Court for People's Representatives has ordered the Karnataka police to conduct a probe against Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister KS Eshwarappa for provocative speeches made following the murder of Bajrang Dal worker Harsha.

A Special Court for People's Representatives is a metropolitan magistrate's court that only deals with cases against MPs and MLAs.

A private complaint was lodged with the court, after the police didn’t act on the complaint lodged at the station. Now the court has asked the police to probe the matter. Bajrang Dal leader Harsha, who was 28 years old, was found murdered in Shivamogga in February.

His death had sparked violent protests across Shivamogga. Prohibitory orders were clamped after incidents of violence and arson were reported.


What Did KS Eshwarappa Say?

A day after Harsha's death, violence broke out during the funeral procession — which was headed by Eshwarappa — during which some people were injured. Six people were later arrested in the case of Harsha’s death. The police ruled out the possibility that he was killed by those protesting the hijab ban.

The complaint against Eshwarappa meanwhile stated that while police were still investigating the case and the perpetrators of the crime were not yet ascertained, Eshwarappa and the second accused — Shivamogga corporator Channabasappa — “propagated publicly that the murder of Harsha took place due to political and religious causes”.

In a press conference at the time, Eshwarappa had suggested that Harsha’s killers were Muslims, and had said that such “goondaism” would not be allowed in Shivamogga.

The Complain Against Eshwarappa

The complaint also says that such statements were made by Eshwarappa with the intention of creating enmity between Hindus and Muslims, and demanded that the Minister be booked under Sections 124(a) [bringing or attempting to bring hatred by words], 153(a) [promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth etc], 153(b), 295(a) [deliberate acts intended to outrage religious feelings] and 504 [intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace] of the Indian Penal Code.

The complainant, one Riyaz Ahamed of the Shivamogga Peace Organization, also said that he had approached the police as well as higher authorities to take action against Eshwarappa, but nothing came of it.

Taking cognisance of the matter, the Special Court for People’s Representatives ordered the Doddapete Station House Officer (SHO) to investigate Riyaz’s complaint.

Eshwarappa is known for making controversial and inflammatory remarks. Recently, his remark that the saffron flag would replace the Indian flag someday kicked up a furore in the state.

(Published in arrangement with The News Minute.)

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Topics:  Anti-Muslim   Communal Hatred   Hate Speech 

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