As the eagerly awaited inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya approaches, the Karnataka police department has launched an investigation into alleged property destruction and offenses committed during the 1992 Ram Mandir movement. A specialised team has been formed to scrutinise individuals linked to the movement, which witnessed acts of violence and intercommunal conflicts.
According to a recent report by IANS, the police have compiled a list of ‘suspects’ believed to have been involved in incidents related to the Ram Mandir movement. The move follows a specific case involving the torching of a minority-owned store in Hubballi on December 5, 1992. In connection with this incident, Srikanth Poojari has been taken into custody, becoming the third defendant in the case. The police are actively seeking eight additional defendants, and Poojari has been placed under court supervision.
Hubballi police have extended their investigation, creating a list of 300 ‘suspects’ allegedly connected to communal conflicts between 1992 and 1996, primarily individuals now in their early and late 70s. Many of these ‘accused’ have reportedly left the city, while others hold prominent positions today. The police are deliberating on the potential consequences of filing lawsuits against these individuals.
In a noteworthy development, several ‘suspects’ from the Ram Janmabhoomi movement have risen to become well-known BJP politicians. Reports suggest that during the BJP’s rule, cases against these figures were dismissed, leading to heightened tensions.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah dismissed the opposition’s allegation of hate politics in connection with the arrest of a man linked to the riots that took place after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. CM Siddaramaiah stated that the police were instructed to dispose of old cases, maintaining that no innocents have been arrested.
Speaking on the arrest, CM Siddaramaiah asked, “What should be done to the wrongdoers? Should we just leave them?”
“We have told the police to dispose of old cases. No innocents have been arrested. We will proceed according to the court’s direction,” he said while speaking to reporters during his visit to Basapur Airport in Koppa.
On BJP MLA Yashpal Suvarna’s demand for a holiday on January 22 for the Ram Mandir inauguration, CM Siddaramaiah said, “I am not aware of the BJP’s demand for a government holiday. I don’t know about the leave.”
“The central government is organising the program, and they can decide on leave,” he added.
The BJP condemned the arrest, calling for a protest throughout the state against the government. BJP leader BY Vijayendra criticised the arrest, emphasising that it occurred when the nation was eagerly awaiting the Ram Mandir inauguration.
Responding to the controversy surrounding Ram Mandir’s inauguration invitation, Siddaramaiah stated, “I don’t know whom they invited or left out. Whoever goes, let them go.”
Speaking on the matter, BJP leader BY Vijayendra said, “They have arrested a Ram bhakt when the state and the whole nation is waiting for January 22. We strongly condemn this.”
“We are calling for a protest throughout the state against the government and anti-Hindu accusations,” he added.
Meanwhile, an effigy of CM Siddaramaiah was burned as a mark of protest against the Hubballi arrest.
On the arrest of a person in Karnataka’s Hubballi for alleged involvement in the riots after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah says “What should be done to the wrongdoers? Should we just leave them? We have told the police to dispose of the old cases.… pic.twitter.com/NTrBSWHn7P
— ANI (@ANI) January 2, 2024
The demonstration was staged by Peethadheeshwar Jagadguru Paramhans Acharya of Tapaswi Camp in Ayodhya.
The Ayodhya Tapaswi camp, led by Peethadheeshwar, demanded the removal of the Siddaramaiah government and urged to bring President’s rule in the state.
“President’s rule is demanded. Siddaramaiah government should be removed immediately otherwise the saints of Ayodhya will march to Karnataka,” he said.
The BJP termed the arrest as a “witch hunt against Hindus”.
The BJP wrote on X, “Congress in Karnataka shamefully targets Hindu activists, arresting elderly Karsevak Shri Shrikanth Poojari in a 31-year-old fake case. As Hindus celebrate the Ram Mandir, Congress’s cowardly move reflects their refusal to accept the reality of the Ram Mandir. This witch hunt against Hindus is highly condemnable.”
ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಹಿಂದೂ ವಿರೋಧಿ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ಪದೇ ಪದೇ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಜನರಿಗೆ, ದೇಶದ ಜನರಿಗೆ ನೆನಪು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದೆ.
ಹುಬ್ಬಳ್ಳಿಯ 31 ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಳೆಯ ಪ್ರಕರಣವನ್ನು ಮತ್ತೆ ಕೆದಕಿ ಹಿಂದೂ ಕಾರ್ಯಕರ್ತನನ್ನು ಬಂಧಿಸಿರುವುದನ್ನು ಬಿಜೆಪಿ ಬಲವಾಗಿ ಖಂಡಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.
— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) January 2, 2024
The current actions of the Congress government in reopening these cases have drawn sharp criticism from Hindu organisations. Denouncing the move, they claim that the government’s attempt to investigate decades-old instances is a strategic response to the BJP and Hindu organisations’ door-to-door campaigning against the backdrop of the upcoming Sri Ram Mandir inauguration in Ayodhya.
(With inputs from agencies)