Karnataka Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah lashed out against Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and the ruling BJP government in the state on 17 October over photographs of the staff of Kapu Police Station in Udupi district and Vijayapura Rural district in Karnataka being clad in saffron attire during Dasara celebrations.
Siddaramaiah accused the CM and his government of establishing “jungle raj” in the state, and also asked for Bommai’s resignation.
As soon as the photos went viral, the posts generated a heated debate. Siddaramaiah, the opposition leader, took to Twitter and criticized ruling BJP and the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
In the first tweet he said, “Why have you changed only the attire of police @CMofKarnataka? Give them Trishools (a trident) and an initiation into violence also. Then your dream of establishing a jungle raj might come true.”
He continued, “On one hand, innocent young men and women are attacked in the name of moral policing in the state. On the other hand, BJP legislators barged inside a police station to get the accused in a moral policing case released. Furthermore, Hindu outfits are distributing trishuls and openly giving calls for violence. All of these are openly supported by @CMofKarnataka. Is there a government in the state?"
"Since Chief Minister Bommai justified hooliganism as 'action and reaction', it seems the police department while heeding to this call from Bommai have all set to enforce jungle raj in the state, burying the laws of the land. The people of the state should lock themselves up in their homes and it is not safe for them to venture out,” Siddaramaiah added.
In his final tweet, he said that Karnataka has a good tradition of pro-people governance and “this is not Yogi Adityanath’s jungle raj of Uttar Pradesh.” Siddaramaiah further asked Bommai to resign and save democracy if he could not govern constitutionally.
Reacting to this, BJP MLA from Udupi, Raghupathi Bhat tweeted, "On the day of the festival colleagues have put on traditional clothes. What is wrong with the police wearing saffron clothes? You don't like saffron. You put on a skull cap and hold a sword on Tipu Jayanthi. You put on their cap when you visit a mosque. Only that is harmony. That is secular. You, being in a responsible position should see everyone equally.”
The photos of the Hindutva outfits – VHP and Bajrang Dal – distributing tridents and knives to its activists on the occasion of Vijayadashami in Dakshina Kannada had also gone viral.
Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashikumar said the police department would look into the case, TOI reported. The organisations’ leaders reportedly clarified that tridents have been distributed every year during the festival and the weapons are not sharp-edged but blunt and distributed to activists as a part of tradition.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)