Karnataka: BJP govt dropped 182 hate crime FIRs between July 2019- April 2023

The majority of the 182 cases with communal links withdrawn pertained to the Congress government's tenure between 2013 and 2018.

The BJP government in Karnataka issued seven separate orders to drop the prosecution in 385 criminal cases, including 182 cases of hate speech, cow vigilantism, and communal violence, over a four-year period from July 2019 to April 2023, the state home department stated as a response to an RTI filed by the Indian Express.

Over 1,000 people benefited from the dismissal of communal crime charges, including a BJP MP and MLA. In the overall withdrawal procedure, 2000 accused were granted relief.

The majority of the 182 cases with communal links withdrawn pertained to the Congress government’s tenure between 2013 and 2018.

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Between 2013 and 2018, the Congress government in Karnataka, led by then chief minister Siddaramaiah, ordered the dismissal of 176 cases involving nearly 1,600 activists from the Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI), the majority of which were related to violations of prohibitory orders.

45 of the 182 charges dismissed by the BJP government had to do with suspected rightwing activist violence in the Uttara Kannada area in December 2017, following the murder of a Hindu youngster, Paresh Mesta.

The CBI eventually determined that it was an accident. Courts largely followed the government’s direction to withdraw cases.

A civil judge and magistrate in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada, disregarded a government decision on February 28, 2023, to dismiss prosecution against 66 persons in the communal violence after Mesta’s case, and committed the matter for trial, according to the Indian Express report.

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