A SENIOR RSS leader from Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, who is facing arrest for allegedly fomenting communal trouble in the Bantwal region of the district was on Thursday granted reprieve by the Karnataka High Court in a 2015 hate speech case.
The court stayed criminal proceedings against Prabhakar Bhat Kalladka (73), a RSS national committee member, in connection with a hate speech complaint filed by K Ashraf, an office-bearer of the pro-Muslim outfit Popular Front of India. Kalladka had approached the court on July 11, pleading a stay on the recent sanction for his prosecution granted by the state government.
Ashraf had alleged that the RSS leader used words insulting the sentiments of Muslims and other communities and promoted hatred during a speech at an event in Puttur on January 16, 2015. In April this year, Kalladka obtained anticipatory bail in this case from a district court.
Over the past month, Kalladka has obtained anticipatory bail from district courts in Mangalore in connection with other cases of hate speeches. On June 24, he got anticipatory bail in connection with a March 2014 hate speech case registered at Bantwal Town police station.
The same day, he obtained bail in connection with another hate speech case against him registered in February 2014 at the Vitla police station. During the hearings in April for the anticipatory bail plea filed by Kalladka in the 2015 Puttur case, the state prosecutor had stated that the RSS leader’s speeches had triggered communal clashes. Kalladka argued that “old false cases” were being reopened by the government to harass him.
The Congress government and its minister in charge of Dakshina Kannada district, B Ramanath Rai, have accused Kalladka of provoking communal violence in the region in recent months to polarise people ahead of Assembly polls next year. The hate speech allegedly resulted in two deaths over the past month.
Meanwhile, the BJP has dared the Congress to arrest Kalladka. BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa told the media in Mangaluru that “the entire state will go up in flames if Prabhakar Bhat Kalladka is arrested”.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Friday that the warning issued by Yeddyurappa indicated the RSS leader’s role in violence in the region. “It is their guilty conscience that is speaking,” he said.