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Karnataka Will Burn if RSS Leader Bhat is Arrested, BSY Tells Cong Govt

File image of BS Yeddyurappa (L) and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (R) . (File Photo)

File image of BS Yeddyurappa (L) and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (R) . (File Photo)

Yeddyurappa warned Siddaramaiah that if RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat is arrested in any of the cases filed against him, all RSS workers would hit the streets and the “fire would engulf the whole state.”

Deepa Balakrishnan

Bengaluru: Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa dared Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to go ahead and arrest an influential RSS leader in coastal Karnataka at his own peril.

Yeddyurappa, who was speaking at a BJP protest meet in Dakshina Kannada on Thursday, warned Siddaramaiah that if RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat is arrested in any of the cases filed against him, all RSS workers would hit the streets and the “fire would engulf the whole state.”

"It is not right to file a case against someone (Bhat) just because he participated in a procession. If the government plans to set fire (to more trouble) by arresting Bhat, I warn you, that fire will spread to the rest of the state. Be warned, that is the scale in which our workers will hit the streets. If such developments happen that further deteriorate law and order, the state govt will be directly responsible," Yeddyurappa raged, at the demonstration organised by the party in Mangalore against the murder of RSS worker Sharath Madiwala last week.

The former CM came to the defence of Bhat after reports that the government could take action against Bhat over cases related to provocative speeches he has made in the past. Yeddyurappa blamed two ministers in the Congress government for the continued unrest in the region and said the police are not being given enough freedom to act.

He was accompanied by Shoba Karandlaje, a prominent MP from the coastal region, who also fumed at the reports of a possible arrest.

"Ramanath Rai, this is an open challenge to you. Try touching Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat even once. Just try arresting him. That would be the last nail in the coffin of the Congress party," Karandlaje said. Rai is an MLA from the region and the district-in-charge Minister for Dakshina Kannada.

In their defence of Bhat, the two leaders went on to attack the Congress government for its failure to control law and order in the area, where four taluks had seen prohibitory orders imposed for more than a month now. It is only this week that prohibitory orders have been lifted.

Reacting to BSY's statement, CM Siddaramaiah said, "I have never told anyone to arrest Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat. Why do they keep brigning up his name? That shows there is a guilt feeling."

"we tried to hold a peace meeting, but they did not even attend it. What does that show? Why don't they cooperate in bringing about peace? Their hidden agenda is to provoke people on sensitive issues, to stoke fires and then watch from the sidelines," he added.

Siddaramaiah accused of Karandlaje have an ulterior motive in making the allegations which he said were baseless.

So who is Bhat?

Bhat is a prominent RSS functionary in the region who runs educational institutions and wields considerable influence. He is someone that many in the BJP look up to for advice on strategy, planning, and growth of the party. Bhat faces a number of cases for provocative speeches, some of which are in early stages of the trial.

On Thursday, the High Court stayed the government's sanction to prosecute him in one case against him for allegedly making an inflammatory speech in 2015. Summons by a local court in the same case too has been stayed. In fact, the government sanctioned to prosecute him came in March, but the summons was issued last month.


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