In a significant U-turn on its decision to drop criminal proceedings against minorities involved in communal cases, the Congress-led Karnataka government has now decided to consider the case of every “innocent” individual.
Defending the move, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that the earlier order signed by Additional Inspector General of Police Shivprakash Devraj and sent to 22 Superintendents of Police and Police Commissioners was withdrawn because of a typographical error which led to some confusion.
He said in the new order “innocent minorities” has been replaced with innocent persons on Saturday.
Deccan Herald quoted Minister Reddy saying, "The words, 'all innocent minorities', were added by oversight. It should have been innocent people,'' the Minister said.
"It was a clerical mistake to print the word ‘minorities’. However, the Rajendra Sachar Committee says there are many innocent minorities on whom false cases have been booked. Though the reminder (letter) talks about minorities in particular, our government is open to all. Any person booked wrongly during any mob violence, including communal, can approach us, seeking removal of his or her name," the Home Minister was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
The move to drop cases against minorities had been slammed by the BJP, who accused the ruling party of “minority appeasement” ahead of the Assembly Elections.
“If this is not blatant Muslim appeasement, then what is? Siddaramaiah is planning to give a clean chit to those accused of serious offences. We will fight against this,” BJP’s fireband Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP Shobha Karandlaje told reporters on Friday in a press conference.
The Home Minister had then responded to BJP’s accusations, stating then that there was no question of appeasing Muslims as minorities include Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims and many other communities.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had earlier argued that the move to drop cases was not just communal ones alone. “The cases in question are not only communal ones. They also include cases registered against farmers, pro-Kannada activists and protesters. The government is not seeking to pardon those who have damaged property, attempted to kill people or those accused of murder. We are talking about those booked for petty reasons. The decision will be taken by the Home Department,” Siddaramaiah said.