A notorious right wing activist linked to fringe groups like the Sri Rama Sena and Bajrang Dal was arrested by police in the coastal Karnataka region of Mangaluru on Thursday for a provocative comment he posted on social media regarding the killing of Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi in Dharwad on August 30.
Prasad Attavar a former vice president of the Sri Rama Sena now linked to the Bajrang Dal, who was arrested in 2009 for an attack on women at a pub in Mangalore and in 2010 for links with the activities of notorious underworld extortionist Ravi Pujari, was arrested by the Mangalore Central Crime Branch police on the basis of a suo motu registered against Attavar.
Mangaluru police commissioner S Murugan said the police took up a suomoto case against Attavara following an alleged provocative Facebook post about Kalburgi on Thursday. Attavar has been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code for promoting enmity and criminal intimidation.
The right wing leader who achieved notoriety in 2009 after he held a press conference to announce that his associates from the Sri Rama Sena carried out an attack on women at a pub in Mangaluru allegedly expressed support for the attack on Kalburgi through posts on his Facebook account.
Attavar has himself denied posting any provocative messages on Facebook and has claimed that he has been consciously staying away from controversies over the last five years.
The arrest of Attavar in Mangaluru for provocative comments over the daylight shooting down of Kalburgi comes close on the heels of the August 31 arrest of a Bajrang Dal activist Bhuvith Shetty, from the neighboring Bantwal taluk, for an alleged comment he posted on Twitter threatening outspoken Kannada writer K S Bhagwan a similar fate as that of Kalburgi. The Bantwal police had arrested Shetty, 25, after taking up a suo motu case against the youth.
Attavar, unlike Shetty, is a seasoned operator working on the thin line that separates right wing Hindu activism and criminal activities like protection racket and extortion. Attavar was arrested by the Mangaluru police in 2010 after investigations revealed that he was a local organizer for an extortion racket run by self styled Hindu don Ravi Pujari who is based abroad.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka CID denied any link between the arrest of Attavar and the killing of Kannada scholar Kalburgi on Sunday. Inspector General of Police (CID) KV Sharath Chandra said that the arrest of Attavar is not related to the murder. “Our team is investigating the case but there is no development that can be shared with the media,” Sharath Chandra said.