At least 21 cases of communal violence and violence relating to cow protection were dropped by Karnataka courts between October and December 2020 based on an August 31 order by the state government, the Indian Express has reported. Among the beneficiaries were Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Mysuru Prathap Sinha, 206 members of Hindu bodies and 106 Muslims.
The criminal cases were dropped ahead of an order by the Karnataka High Court dated December 21, 2020, asking the state government to not prosecution of the cases. The order came after the human rights body People’s Union for Civil Liberties filed a petition. The High Court had said in its December 21 order that no further steps should be taken on the basis of the order dated August 31, 2020.
But according to court records of the cases that took place between 2014 and 2019, the Karnataka government approached the trial courts soon after the Aug 31 order was issued. It sought the withdrawal of these cases. The 21 cases were then dropped between October 10 and December 10. Former Law Minister J C Madhuswamy, now the Minor Irrigation Minister, Bhatkal BJP MLA Sunil Naik and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan had made the request to drop the cases. Despite written objections from the state police, legal departments and prosecution in each case, they were dropped.
Madhuswamy sought the dropping of 13 cases involving communal incidents that occurred between 2015 and 2018 in the Hunsur area of Mysore district. Among them was a December 2017 incident in which Mysuru MP Simha allegedly drove his jeep into a police barricade erected in the communally sensitive Hunsur town to regulate a Hanuman Jayanti procession.
On November 26 last year, the other instances of communal incidents in Hunsur were all withdrawn. Most of them were linked to conflicts between Hindus and Muslim communities, primarily over celebrations of Hanuman Jayanti or opposition to banners and posters. In total, cases were dropped against 142 Hindu and 40 Muslim youths.
Two cases from Bidar town were also dropped by the government, based on the request of Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan. While a person who was accused of attacking people transporting cows was acquitted, six others accused in another case of targeting cattle transporters are still to face court. Chavan had led a new law to prevent the slaughter of cattle in Karnataka December.