Bengaluru: BJP MLA from Belthangady constituency of Dakshina Kannada, Harish Poonja, who had stirred a controversy by claiming that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah got 24 Hindu activists killed, got relief from the Karnataka High Court on Friday.
The High Court bench headed by Justice M. Nagaprasanna stayed the police investigation into the case. Three complaints were registered against the BJP MLA in Puttur, Belthangady and Bantwal police stations.
Appearing for Poonja, senior counsel Prabhuling Navadagi submitted in the court that the case is not fit to be lodged against the BJP MLA under IPC Section 153A. “That is why there was a delay in filing FIR against BJP MLA Harish Poonja… no incidents of violence were reported following the statement…,” he argued.
Considering the argument, the bench issued a stay on the investigation.
Poonja had made the controversial remarks while venting out ire on Hindu activists who campaigned for Congress recently. The audio and video of his outbursts went viral on social media. Satyajith Surathkal, a Hindu activist, had carried out campaigning for the Congress party.
“You sought votes for Siddaramaiah who got 24 Hindu activists killed… You have sought votes for the Congress which is proposing a ban on Bajrang Dal,” Poonja had stated.
BJP has been claiming that during the tenure of Siddaramaiah between 2013 and 2018, the coastal Karnataka region – especially Dakshina Kannada district – witnessed a series of murders of Hindu activists. The saffron party further accused the Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah of protecting the accused persons by withdrawing cases against the workers of PFI and SDPI.
The BJP had made it a poll issue in 2018 and swept elections in the coastal region. However, Siddaramaiah denied these allegations, saying that the murders had happened due to rivalry and personal enmity. CBI investigation revealed that Paresh Mesta, a Hindu youth who was allegedly killed in the backdrop of communal violence, died accidentally. The investigation report proved to be a major setback for the BJP during the elections.