Controversy
“There is no urban or rural Naxal. I suspect that Girish Karnad is the root cause for the Naxal movement in Karnataka,” reads lawyer Amruthesh’s complaint.

Two days after writer and Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad wore a sign around his neck that read, ‘Me Too Urban Naxal’ at the Gauri Memorial Trust’s convention, a police complaint has been filed against him. Amruthesh NP filed a complaint at the Vidhana Soudha Police station in Bengaluru against the writer alleging that “Girish Karnad and his associates have Maoist links” and were allegedly involved in the Bhima Koregaon riots in which one person had died. Amruthesh is the defence lawyer for all the accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.

Accusing Girish Karnad of trying to promote violent and criminal activities, Amruthesh’s complaint states, “By posting such a title on his body, Mr Karnad has tried to promote and propagate the violent and criminal activities of naxalism… There is no urban or rural Naxal. I suspect that Girish Karnad is the root cause for the Naxal movement in Karnataka and he is hand-in-glove with Naxals but pretends to bring them into the mainstream.”

“It is shocking to me that a Jnanpith Awardee is active in the Naxalite movement, which is banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” the complaint states. In his complaint, the lawyer goes on to state that Urban Naxals are “those who spread insurgency against the nation” and calls for actions against “such Naxal sympathisers”.

The complaint states that an FIR must be filed against Girish Karnad for being a Naxal and funding the Naxal movement. It also adds that the police must probe his involvement in the Bhima Koregaon riots. The complaint also demands that the police find out whether Karnad’s “accomplices Prakash Raj, Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mewani” were also involved in the Naxal movement.

Speaking to the gathering on the first death anniversary of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, Girish Karnad had spoken up against the house arrests of various progressive thinkers and activists across the country.

“What is horrifying now is not what the Naxals or terrorists are doing but what the police are saying. The accusations against rationalists are a complete hogwash. It is not rational talk. It's scary because they believe they can do what they want. Someone in Pune is investigating the case and someone in Delhi is directing them. This is grim. If speaking up means being a Naxal then I am an Urban Naxal. I am proud to be a part of the hit list,” Girish Karnad had said.

Karnad was referring to the suspected mastermind of Gauri Lankesh’s murder – Amol Kale’s hitlist of 34 rationalists and progressive thinkers, who the group was allegedly planning to kill. Girish Karnard’s name was one among eight others from Karnataka.

The Gauri Memorial Trust on Wednesday handed over a memorandum to the Governor’s office seeking a ban on right-wing group Sanathan Sanstha.

Lawyer Amruthesh represents Hindu Janajgruthi Samiti which is fighting for the accused in the murder case of Gauri Lankesh. Several of the accused in the case are suspected to have been members of either the Sanathan Sanstha or its off-shoot – the Hindu Janajgruthi Samiti.

On September 5 (the death anniversary of Gauri Lankesh), members of the Hindu Janajgruthi Samiti and Sri Rama Sene had held a protest in support of the accused in the murder case.

These right-wing outfits held a joint protest and marched from Banappa Park to Freedom Park in Bengaluru while hailing the accused, who have been arrested in Gauri Lankesh’s murder.

Members of these outfits shouted out the names of the accused Amol Kale, Sujeet Kumar, Manohar Edave, KT Naveen Kumar and Parashuram Waghmore and cried “Zindabad”, hailing what they believed were “efforts to protect the Hindu religion”.