Writer and historian Ramachandra Guha has landed in legal trouble for insinuating that the Sangh Parivar was behind the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Karunakar Khasale, the Karnataka state Secretary of the BJP Yuva Morcha has issued a legal notice to Guha, demanding that Guha issue an unconditional apology for his statements within three days of receiving the notice, or civil and criminal proceedings would be initiated against him.
In an interview to Scroll.in’s Smitha Nair, Guha had said, “It is very likely that her murderers came from the same Sangh Parivar from which the murderers of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi came.”
Guha also said, “The ruling dispensation in Delhi has created a climate of hate and intolerance. Their bigotry is reinforced and enhanced by jingoistic TV channels who spread a climate of hate and discord and suspicion and demonise their opponents and call them anti-nationals.”
The legal notice states that Guha had also made similar statements in an article in the Hindustan Times headlined, “Gauri Lankesh killing: Undermining democracy, one writer at a time”.
The notice accuses Guha of deliberately making these comments to “tarnish the image and reputation” of the BJP. “The said utterances in the aforesaid interview have been made by you intentionally to bring disrepute to our Client and his organisation with an ulterior motive. The direct allegations, insinuations and innuendos made by you deliberately and with full knowledge impute criminal conduct on our Client and its members.”
“Our clients states that on seeing, hearing and reading your statements contained in the said interview and article, which have been widely published and circulated by the aforesaid media houses, it would be clear to any reasonable person that they are clearly accusative and defamatory in nature,” the notice says.
It also accuses Guha of interfering into the course of investigations into the murders of Govind Pansare, Narendra Dhabolkar, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. “Our Clients states that your baseless utterances are also calculated to influence and mislead the ongoing investigations of the said incidents. This amounts to illegal interference in the course of justice and is also a grave offence,” the notice says.
Guha could not be reached for a comment on the legal notice. However, soon after the news of the legal notice broke, the historian tweeted from his handle:
Atal Bihari Vajpayee said the answer to a book or article can only be another book or article. But we no longer live in Vajpayee's India— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) September 11, 2017
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at her Raja Rajeshwari Nagar residence on the night of September 5. Gauri’s murder had sparked widespread protests, across the country from journalist groups as well as civil society activists and others. There has been widespread speculation on the motives for the murder, with police stating that possibilities of the murder being committed by Right Wing activists and by Naxalites are both being investigated.