The probe was initiated after Tourism Minister CT Ravi raised the issue with Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Twitter on Sunday.

2 Karnataka cops face probe for arresting BJP man for controversial social media post
Coronavirus Coronavirus Monday, April 13, 2020 - 20:31

Two police officers in Karnataka’s Hassan district have landed in trouble for taking action against Tej Kumar Shetty, a BJP activist, who posted a controversial social media post, suggesting a link between the Tablighi Jamaat event and the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The two police officers — Belur circle inspector Siddarameshwara and Arehalli sub-inspector Balu— are facing an inquiry by the jurisdictional Superintendent of Police (SP) Srinivasa Gowda. However, SP added that the two officers have not been suspended. 

The disciplinary action was initiated after Tourism Minister CT Ravi raised the issue with Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Twitter on Sunday.

The Hassan police on Saturday had arrested Tej Kumar Shetty, who had shared the social media post, in which he was mockingly suggested that the coronavirus was weaker than the organiser of the event —  Maulana Muhammad Saad, head of Tablighi Jamaat (TJ).

Speaking to TNM, the SP said that a departmental inquiry is being conducted, adding that they are being probed for issuing statements to the press. “Usually, the unit head is authorised to give out press notes. But here, they have given it without our knowledge, and so we are probing them,” said the SP. 

Reacting to the development, former Member of Parliament (MP) and Congress spokesperson Ugrappa said, “Both the Union government and the state government have failed in their duty to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and its fallouts. So they are trying to distract the public by making these issues as Hindu versus Muslims and creating enmity between two religions.”

He added, “When the police have taken a suo motu cognisance of the matter, they (the BJP) have used their influence to get the higher authority to inquire against the two police officials, even though the latter acted in accordance with the law. So the BJP’s mindset is very clear; even some of the MPs and MLAs and particularly the likes of Anantkumar Hedge, Shobha Karanlaje and others issue such communal statements and this incident is only a continuation of that.”

These developments come after Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa gave a warning last week, asking citizens not to target the Muslim community over the Tablighi Jamaat event held in New Delhi. He even warned legal action against those giving a communal angle to the pandemic.

Read: Many BJP supporters are angry with Yediyurappa – but Karnataka CM has an unlikely ally

Incidentally, the CM’s own political secretary and MLA MP Renukacharya was booked by Davanagrere police on April 8 based on a complaint by a Congress leader. In a controversial speech, Renukacharya had said that those who attended the religious event “be shot for not cooperating with health workers”.

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