Sri Ram Sene Chief Pramod Muthalik allegedly likened slain Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh to a dog, according to news reports. A video of Muthalik addressing supporters of the fringe outfit is doing rounds in which he reportedly made the remark. Defending Narendra Modi over his silence on the murder, Muthalik allegedly asked why should Prime Minister react “every time a dog dies in Karnataka”.
“Everyone is saying that Hindu groups conspired to kill Gauri Lankesh, but two murders in Maharashtra and two in Karnataka took place during Congress’ rule,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
“No one questioned the Congress government’s failure… instead these Left-leaning intellectuals ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak on Gauri Lankesh’s death,” he said.
“Do you expect Modi to respond every time a dog dies in Karnataka?” he asked.
Muthalik, however, defended his statement saying that he had only pointed out that the prime minister cannot comment on every death in the state.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari, slamming Muthalik for his comment, questioned PM Modi whether he was going to condone Muthalik’s statement.
“Disgusting, nauseating, revolting…vigilante group Sri Ram Sene’s Head Pramod Muthalik compares assassinated journalist Gauri Lankesh to a dog. Mr Prime Minister @narendramodi you did not condemn Gauri Lankesh’s murder are you now going to condone this too,” tweeted Tewari.
On Saturday, the right-wing group’s Vijapura district president was summoned for questioning by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder.
“We have summoned Rakesh Math. He has not come yet,” an official told PTI.
Math was called in for questioning after it was learnt he is an associate of Parashuram Waghmare, a prime suspect in the murder case. Police said that Waghmare has links to Sri Ram Sene, a claim denied by Muthalik.
“Ram Sene has no connection with Parashuram. I don’t know what has he said before the SIT. There are so many people who click photographs with me but just by doing so, they do not become our worker,” he told ANI.
Lankesh was murdered last year by two bike-borne assailants outside her residence in Bengaluru.