Karnataka Minister for Environment and Forests, B Ramanath Rai has now landed in a pool of trouble after a video of him directing the Dakshina Kannada SP, Bhushan Borase, to book RSS leader Prabhakar Bhat for murder surfaced.
The Minister was speaking with Borase regarding the recent communal violence, which erupted in Bantwal taluk’s Kalladka area on June 13.
The two groups had resorted to pelting stones at each other and six cases of communal violence was registered in Bantwal and section 144 has been imposed till June 21.
In the video, Minister Ramanath Rai is seen talking to SP Bhushan Borase. “Book Prabhakar Bhat under section 307 (murder). If he is in jail, he will not incite violence. You book him. Once he comes out, he will listen to whatever I say,” Ramanath Rai is heard saying in the video.
Speaking to TNM, the Minister, demanded that those who release the video prove its authenticity.
“When I met with the Superintendent of Police, as a Minister, I told him to take action against those who were responsible for inciting communal violence. Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat is known for giving hate speeches and inciting violence. It is wrong to incite hatred against members of different communities. Never have I given a hate speech. What Prabhakar Bhat did was wrong. I was telling the SP to arrest those who are guilty of criminal activities so that communal tensions in the area can be put to rest,” Rai said.
“Why did the communal clashes happen in Kalladka only? Why not any other place? It is because he is from that area and in the past too, has been responsible for creating violence. He has also been accused of murder before,” Rai added.
The SP in the video, however, said that he was only performing his duty as a civil servant by listening to what the Minister had to say.
“I had gone to meet with the Minister, as it is my duty as a public servant to listen to all sides of the story. I was just doing my job. We listen to what everyone has to say and will do only what the law permits us to do,” Borase said.
What led to the communal clashes in Bantwal and why is Section 144 imposed there?
On May 26, Mohammed Hasir (21) and two of his friends were attacked by group of eight persons while they were returning home after offering prayers at a masjid.
In his complaint, Hasir said that the assailants came in a car and waylaid him. One of the assailants hit him on his back with a sharp weapon and threw stones at his friends before leaving the place.
The injured persons have accused Mithun, an accused in a case of attempt to murder, and his associates of attacking them. Mithun and his associates were recently released on bail. The police have launched a search for those involved in the attack.
Following the attack, people started to assemble on the main road on Kalladka and four Karnataka State Reserve Police platoons were dispatched to disperse the crowd and prohibitory orders were clamped till June 16.
Despite this, on June 13, communal clashes erupted in Kalladka after two persons, including leader of Hindu Jagarana Vedike (HJV) and another person of a different community got stabbed. Several shops were shut down and damage to vehicles following stone-pelting was reported.
HJV district president Ratnakar Shetty and Khaleel, son of Abusali, who were stabbed, were admitted to a private hospital.
As news spread, people from two different communities gathered and pelted stones at each other. Prohibitory orders have now been extended till June 21 in Bantwal, Belthangady, Puttur and Sullia taluks.