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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is considering the withdrawal of cases filed against “minority communities”, farmers and pro-Kannada activists over the last five years. A circular seeking details of such cases — the fourth in two months — was sent Thursday to all police divisions in the state, prompting a sharp opposition BJP response.
While the BJP accused the Congress government of “working against Hindus”, Siddaramaiah after Friday’s Republic Day event said, “We are considering withdrawal of not just cases filed against people from minority communities during communal disturbances but also farmers during agitations and pro Kannada activists during agitations.”
He added that the proposal was pending with the Home Department and that the government would take a decision after “obtaining the opinion of the home department”. The CM’s remarks came after a state police department circular to all police divisions seeking details of cases from the last five years where people from minority communities were booked in the course of communal disturbances was posted on Twitter by the BJP.
“Just when we were thinking that things can’t get more worse for Hindus in K’taka tyrant @siddaramaiah has moved to drop criminal cases pending against members of minority community (read radical Islamic elements) involved in communal riots in the last 5 years,” the BJP said on its Karnataka party Twitter handle.
The circular was issued by the state police department and signed by Assistant Inspector General of Police, Shivaprakash Devaraju on January 25. It renewed calls issued earlier to state police units for details of cases filed against members of minority communities in the course of communal disturbances in the last five years. The circular was the fourth reminder in the last two months. According to state Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, no “big cases” were under review. “We are looking at minor cases where people have been booked and considering their withdrawal. No big cases will be withdrawn,” he said on Friday.
Earlier this week, the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh had also considered the withdrawal of a case related to the 2013 riots in Muzaffarnagar, and sought opinions on whether withdrawing it would be the right step in public interest.
Reddy said the previous BJP government under BS Yeddyurappa as CM had withdrawn cases too. “This was done by Yeddyurappa when he was CM with respect to cases against activists of the Sangh Parivar and it has been done in UP as well by the BJP in recent days,’’ Reddy said. He denied BJP allegations that the Congress party was moving to drop cases against minorities because it is hand in glove with Islamic political groups like the PFI and SDPI. “It is the BJP that is hand in glove with these groups,” he said.
The BJP and Congress have dropped cases filed against people for involvement in communal incidents in Karnataka in the past. During the BJP’s tenure between 2008 and 2013, it ordered the withdrawal of cases filed against Sangh Parivar members involved in attacks on churches in the coastal Karnataka district of Dakshina Kannada as well as cases filed against Christians for reactionary violence during the attacks.
The Congress after assuming power in 2013 has dropped cases against members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the Popular Front of India (PFI), who were allegedly involved in communal disturbances during the BJP tenure.