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Karnataka Home Minister Accuses BJP MP of 'Purposely' Breaking Law at Behest of Amit Shah

Ramalinga Reddy made the comments while facing questions from reporters about why Pratap Simha, BJP MP from Mysuru, was arrested while participating in a procession in his constituency for ‘Hanuma Jayanti’.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:January 11, 2018, 11:47 AM IST
Karnataka Home Minister Accuses BJP MP of 'Purposely' Breaking Law at Behest of Amit Shah
File photo of BJP National President Amit Shah. (Getty Images)

Bengaluru: Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Monday accused BJP MP Pratap Simha of purposely violating the law and said that he was doing this at the behest of his party president Amit Shah.

Reddy made the comments while facing questions from reporters about why Simha, BJP MP from Mysuru, was arrested while participating in a procession in his constituency for Hanuman Jayanti.

He said that Simha, who was personally driving his car, had tried to crash through police barricades and nearly hit officials deployed for security during the procession.

“Whether it is Eid procession or Hanuman Jayanti procession, the police permission is given based on a set route. But he wanted to deviate from the route-map given and dash his way through barricades. Our policemen escaped injuries narrowly. Should they then just keep quiet, without any action? They have booked cases because the law is the same for this MP, as it is for me or for the Chief Minister,” Reddy said.

"They are only want to mine this for political reasons...They are all doing this at the behest of Amit Shah," he added.

He referred to a video posted by Simha a few weeks ago on social media, where Simha is heard telling the BJP Yuva Morcha cadre that he was asked by Shah during his (Shah’s) last visit for review of party functioning ahead of elections, to “get aggressive in all protests and demonstrations.”

The video, that soon went viral on social media, has Simha saying, “Shah had called a meeting of all the morchas during his Bangalore visit. He asked the Yuva Morcha how many protests have you held in the recent past. We gave him details.”

“After hearing us out, Shah said you are the Yuva Morcha’. You must hold more fierce protests. How many of your protests have seen lathi-charging, or tear gas used? Give me those details. To this, I said, there are no such incidents, but in future, we will hold such protests in the coming days,” he added.

The video put the BJP – in opposition in Karnataka – in an embarrassing position, coming as it does just days after some of their district office-bearers in Tumkur district were accused of beating up a journalist trying to question a party leader’s role in illegal mining.

On Sunday, even as Simha was briefly arrested and later released for trying to break the police barricades, a similar incident was reported where BJP workers tried to create trouble at the Datta Jayanti celebrations in the communally-sensitive Bababudangiri Hills in Chikmagalur district.

Chikmagaluru MLA and BJP general secretary CT Ravi too had participated in these celebrations, where a worker tried to deface a shrine worshipped by members of another community. The incident also saw some mild lathicharge before things were brought under control.

Reddy, who said such incidents are increasing with just six months to go for elections, advised the BJP to “hold workshops” to teach their MPs and MLAs the law. “Simha and Ananth Kumar Hegde – these are MPs. They should know the law. But they are mining these religious occasions for political purposes. They don’t celebrate anything out of bhakti (devotion), but for politics,” he said.

Chief Minister Siddarmaiaah too reacted on social media, taunting Simha. “Taking BJP president Amit Shah’s advice seriously, Mysore MP @mepratap is trying to create communal disturbance in Hunsur during Hanuman Jayanti. It is our responsibility to ensure citizens celebrate festivals peacefully. No person, including an MP, will be allowed to take law in his own hands.”

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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