The Mangaluru police, on Sunday, September 19, arrested Hindu Maha Sabha (HMS) state secretary Dharmendra for issuing threats to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and the BJP government in Karnataka over the demolition of a temple in Mysuru. The police had booked him along with five others on Saturday, September 18, after a video of them addressing the media was being widely shared. At a press conference on Saturday, Dharmendra had said if the demolition of temples continued in the state, the Sabha would not spare the 'spineless' BJP government headed by Bommai.
"We had not spared Gandhi. You are nothing to us at all. We will not spare you also," he had said, mentioning the names of Chief Minister Bommai, former CM Yediyurappa and state Muzrai Minister Shashikala Jolle. They were referring to the recent demolition drive taken up by Mysuru district authorities of removing religious structures built illegally on public/government land as per a Supreme Court directive. The Karnataka High Court was also looking at the implementation of the SC directive.
"We feel pity for the Sangh Parivar organisations who are taking up the fight against temple demolition. If they are sincere, they should defeat the BJP in the coming elections and back Hindu Maha Sabha, which is the party of Hindutva,â he had said.
A case against Dharmendra has been registered under sections 120 (B) for criminal conspiracy, 153 (A) (promoting enmity between religious groups), 505 (2) (statements conducing to public mischief) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Sabha leaders Rajesh Pavithran, Prem, Sandeep and other functionaries will also be questioned, the police said.
Earlier, reacting to Dharmendra's remarks, HMS state president Lohith Kumar had filed a complaint against him for misusing the name of the organisation to criticise the BJP government. Barke police had registered an FIR based on the complaint. Meanwhile, HMS leader Rajesh Pavithran issued a statement condemning the police for registering a case against him and others. "Police have registered cases against HMS leaders, including me, who was not present at the press meet," he alleged.
Incidentally, the temple demolition was not taken well by BJP MP Pratap Simha as well, among other party leaders. Following this, CM Bommai had said the government will take corrective action and form a policy of dealing with this situation after consulting with senior leaders.