A case has been filed against Kannada writer and rationalist K.S. Bhagwan for allegedly hurting religious sentiments, police said on Wednesday.
"We have filed an FIR (first information report) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against Bhagwan on the basis of a complaint filed by Sudharshan Bhatt," Bengaluru Additional Commissioner of Police C.H. Pratap Reddy told reporters.
Bhatt, who is from Mangaluru, accused Bhagwan of challenging the existence of Hindu religious epics Ramayana and Mahabarata and making derogatory remarks against their characters at a function in Bengaluru on September 19.
VHP lawyer Shyam Sudarshan Bhat filed the cases under IPC sections 298A (deliberately hurting religious sentiments) and 153A (promoting enmity between religious groups).
"As the remarks were made at a function at Gandhi Bhavan in Bengaluru, we have transferred the case to the High Grounds police station from Mangaluru where it was registered earlier in the day," Reddy said.
In a related development, a hostel warden, Raghunath Tantri (45) from Hubballi in Karnataka's northern region, was arrested for allegedly making threat calls to the Karnataka Sahitya Academy for choosing Bhagwan for its annual lifetime achievement award in 2013.
"We located Tantri by tracking his mobile calls he used to make from his home at Hubbali," Reddy said.
Though a priest, Tantri has been working as a warden at the Akhila Bharatha Madhya Mahasabha Sangha hostel for boys at Hubbali, about 400 km from Bengaluru.
Hindustan Times reported that Vishwa Hindu Parishad has decided to file 100 cases for hurting religious sentiments against Mysore-based scholar and rationalist K S Bhagavan who was a close friend of Prof M M Kalburgi of Dharwad who was murdered less than a month ago.
The 70-year-old Prof Bhagavan has been under heavy police protection ever since the killing of Prof Kalburgi by suspected Hindutva extremists.
Head of VHPâ€™s legal cell Jagadish Shenava told HT that the VHP would file cases against the rationalist all over Karnataka.
Hindustan Times quoted Bhat saying, "Bhagavan had denigrated the Hindu scriptures at a seminar on September 19 in Bengaluru. He must be punished." The program was organised by a Dalit organisation to commemorate the birth anniversary of Tamil Nadu's anti-caste leader Periyar.