KPCC urges action against BJP leaders for communal statements

Published : April 10, 2020 18:47 IST

KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar and Opposition leader Siddaramaiah ahead of the all-party meeting during the lockdown, at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on March 29. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

In a strong letter addressed to Praveen Sood, Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP) of Karnataka, D.K. Shivakumar, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president, urged him to take suo moto cognisance of the communal statements made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic as these qualified as “criminal offences”.

Identifying four senior BJP leaders, the letter lists the statements made by these leaders that have been widely reported. Shobha Karandlaje, a close aide of Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa and Udupi-Chikkamaggaluru Member of Parliament (MP), had made communal statements like “Jihadis are behind the spreading of COVID-19 virus”. The BJP MP from Uttara Kannada and former Union Minister Ananthkumar Hegde had said “Tablighi people should be shot down”.

The letter also listed the offences of two Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs), M.P. Renukacharya and Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, both of whom have made vituperative statements against Muslims “which are offences under Sec. 153A of the IPC [Indian Penal Code]”.

The KPCC letter states: “All of them belonging to the BJP have thus joined in a criminal conspiracy to create enmity between Hindus and Muslims. They have further caused criminal intimidation by threatening to shoot down persons belonging to a particular community. Their statements have all the ingredients to incite communal violence and disrupt harmony.”

The BJP leaders made these statements after the identification of the Nizamuddin headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat as a cluster of COVID-19 cases. Ironically, the statements by these four senior BJP leaders were made after Yediyurappa warned that strict action would be taken against anyone targeting Muslims and communalising the pandemic.

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