Image Courtesy: deccanherald.com
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has done it again. The party has a long and despicable history of making inflammatory statements inciting against minorities, and yesterday Karnataka’s BJP Minister for Tourism, CT Ravi stooped to a new low, when he issued a warning to Congress’ UT Khader saying, “UT Khader must recall what happened in Godhra.”
Most intimidating provocative threat issued by CT Ravi.
The police must immediately book a case against him and take him into preventive custody.
Holding a constitutional post he has no business to speak like this. pic.twitter.com/xTs52bl64y
— ದಿನೇಶ್ ಗುಂಡೂರಾವ್/ Dinesh Gundu Rao (@dineshgrao) December 20, 2019
Translated by The News Minute, what CT Ravi said was, “It’s because of their (referring to the Muslim community) mentality that they set fire in Godhra. It was their mentality that led them to burn karsevaks alive. We know this. But when it comes to reactions, we know that in Godhra, when the train was set on fire and how people were inflamed. UT Khader must know what happened when people are outraged. If he doesn’t know, then he must recall it.”
These chilling words are a bald-faced threat delivered with impunity, perhaps owing to confidence that comes with having political patronage and clout. The Godhra train-burning and the post Godhra genocide represent some of the darkest days in the history of the subcontinent, when communal violence was allowed to thrive allegedly with the full knowledge and even complicity of powerful administrators themselves. CT Ravi’s statement came after UT Khader, a legislator from Ullal in Mangaluru had sent a warning to CM BS Yeddyurappa that “Karnataka would burn” if the CAA was implemented.
In his speech on December 18, UT Khader had said, “I am giving our state’s Chief Minister some advice and a warning. If Citizenship Amendment Act is implemented in Karnataka, then the day will come when Karnataka will burn.” He was soon booked for sedition (Section 124A), promoting enmity between different groups (Section 153A) and wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riots (Section 153). A case was registered against him by Dakshina Kannada BJP Yuva Morcha’s district general secretary Sandesh Kumar Shetty.
Khader clarified that his statements were twisted out of context and that the government was trying to issue new laws to divert the attention of the people away from real issues that plagued the country.
On December 19, protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) were held in Bengaluru and Mangaluru despite the imposed Section 144. In Mangaluru, the police resorted to lathi charge on protesters who were staging their agitation outside the Mangaluru Deputy Commissioner’s office. The police also opened fire and according to hospital sources, two people died due to bullet injuries. Soon, a curfew was imposed in several parts of Mangaluru and the BJP and CT Ravi squarely blamed UT Khader and his inflammatory speech to be the reason of violence that took place there.
Minister Ravi, mentioned that the ‘majority’(Hindus) had been maintaining their peace all this while and that “the majority’s patience must not be tested.”
Congress leader and Bengaluru’s Gandhinagar MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao has termed CT Ravi’s statement to be the “most intimidating provocative threat” and has asked the police to immediately file a case against him and take him into preventive custody.
In 2002, 59 passengers had lost their lives after the Sabarmati Express was set afire next to the Godhra railway station in Gujarat. What followed was widespread riots killing more than 1,926 people.
Ravi has been a repeat hate speech offender. On December 15 he’d tweeted –
Those who want “Hinduon se Azadi” (Independence from Hindus) are most welcome to leave India.
Students should be treated as students if they respect the law. Anyone who indulges in violence and destruction of public property must be dealt in a strong manner.#CABBill2019 pic.twitter.com/etBVJjTe4E
— C T Ravi ?? ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) December 15, 2019
The residents of Bengaluru urged the city police to book Ravi for making provocative statements, especially after the police had categorically asked everyone in the state to refrain from doing so.
BJP worker Kapil Mishra, who was staging a rally in support of the CAA in Delhi also openly called for violence against people protesting the CAA by asking police to “shoot the traitors”.
हम भी सड़क पर उतर चुके हैं
कोई गलतफहमी ना पाले
संसद में जीतना आता हैं तो सड़क पर भी जीतना आता हैं
दिल्ली के हजारों युवाओं के साथ आज मैं भी सड़क पर हूँ
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) December 20, 2019
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah has asked the government to revoke Sec 144 imposed in the state. He told reporters, “By imposing Section 144, it is nothing but an undeclared emergency. The whole issue has been taken up now to mislead the people and divert their attention from burning issues such as joblessness, economic slowdown and poverty.”
Apart from blaming PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the inhumane actions of the police and the ‘mess in Mangaluru’, he also accused CM Yeddyurappa of making Karnataka another Kashmir. “The BJP government led by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, by imposing restrictions, is trying to make Karnataka as another Kashmir. All the rights enshrined in the Constitution is curtailed. Our party leaders, who had gone to see the situation, have been detained at the Mangaluru airport. I condemn this act to silence us,” he said.
On Friday, the Karnataka High Court had slammed the state police for revoking protest permissions and imposing Sec 144 in the state.
Today, December 21, the curfew in Mangaluru was relaxed for two hours but is said to continue till Sunday night given the tense situation. CM Yeddyurappa has reached Mangaluru to review the situation and meet with officials to know the reasons for the violence that took place there.
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