Karnataka: Probe ordered into BJP minister for ‘provocative speeches’

A special court in Bengaluru directed the Karnataka police to conduct a probe into the state rural development and panchayat raj minister, KS Eshwarappa, for provocative speeches made following the murder of Bajrang Dal worker Harsha.

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The court on Wednesday, under section 156 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (the power of the Magistrate), directed the state police to file a First Information Report (FIR) and launch a probe against the minister.

The order is based on a private complaint filed in the court following inaction by the Shivamogga police over the same.

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“The complainant has lodged a complaint before the Jurisdictional Police Station, but no action was taken. The complainant has also lodged a complaint in this regard to the Higher Authorities also, but no action is taken,” read the order.

“As such, the complainant has filed this Private Complaint with the prayer of referring the complaint under 156(3) of Cr.P.C for investigation,” it added.

The court has directed the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Doddapete Police Station, Shivamogga, to submit a report on the action taken, based on the complaint, on or before May 5, 2022.

Harsha’s Murder:

Harsha, a Bajrang Dal member, employed as a tailor, was stabbed repeatedly by unidentified persons. Despite medical assistance, Harsha succumbed to the wounds on February 20. The police had arrested three people in connection with the murder case.

Events that followed Harsha’s death:

Following the murder of Harsha, riots broke out in various pockets of the Shivamogga district in Karnataka. The specific target of the riots was localities where chiefly Muslims reside.

While there was no clarity on who killed Harsha, Bajrang Dal cadres and BJP leaders in the state seem to believe that Muslim individuals were responsible for the murder.

After the murder, several vehicles in the area were set on fire, and police were compelled to deploy heavy artillery to prevent the situation from escalating. The administration has imposed curbs on public gatherings and ordered that schools and colleges will stay shut.

Eshwarappa’s provocative remarks:

Following the death of the Bajrang Dal activist, Eshwarappa had demanded an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into his murder.

Eshwarappa had told the media that the NIA probe can reveal which organisation is involved in the act.

“The people of areas around the place where the murder took place have said that some Muslim miscreants arrived in a car, stabbed Harsha, and fled. Starting from the murder, followed by the riot in the city to a procession being taken out, it seems like a pre-planned conspiracy. I will request the CM Bommai for a NIA probe,” he had said, although the police probe indicated local gang rivalry.

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