I wish them good sense, the 70-year-old scholar says

Kannada writer KS Bhagwan flooded with abuse after his number was spread on WhatsApp
news Monday, September 21, 2015 - 15:45

Kannada scholar KS Bhagwan is being inundated with calls and hate messages after his number was circulated on WhatsApp, along with in instructions to hound him.

A Whatsapp message asking people to flood Kannada writer KS Bhagwan with calls and messages of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ was circulating on Monday morning, after the media reported that he was being given a Karnataka Sahitya Akademy award for Lifetime Achievement.

Bhagwan has been unpopular with Hindutva supporters over his remarks in February that the Bhagawad Gita was an “unholy” book which deserved to be burned. After Kalburgi’s murder, he has received threats saying that he was “next”, and has since been given police protection.

Read: After Kalburgi, Bajrang Dal activist tells another scholar he's next, deletes tweet and says sorry

Speaking to The News Minute, Bhagwan said that he was getting calls and messages from people. asked what the messages contained, he said: “They are using foul language.”

He had switched off his phone for some time on the instructions of the police, and had also lodged a complaint with the local inspector.

Asked how he felt about being hounded like this, the 70-year-old said: “Avarige viveka barli, innenu helodu avarige? Avara samskritya matta gotthagatte idralli. Avara samskruti bereyavarige upadra koduva samskriti.”

Read: Days after Kalburgi's murder, Kannada writer KS Bhagwan gets threat letter

Roughly translated, his remarks mean: “I hope they get some good sense, what else can I tell them. But this shows what type of culture (cultural values) they have. Their’s is a culture that troubles others.”

On Monday, media reported that Bhagwan, along with other scholars and writers had been chosen for the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award for the year 2012. The awards are to be presented in November in Dharwad.

The Karnataka state unit of the BJP opposed the award given to Bhagwan, who they claimed had made a “profession” out of “insulting the sentiments and beliefs” of Hindus.

Read: BJP wants Sahitya Akademy to withdraw award to Kannada writer KS Bhagwan

The WhatsApp message being circulated said that a “thorn can only be removed with a thorn”, which is a Kannada expression equivalent to the English “fighting fire with fire”. It then prescribes the methods to be used: as many people has possible were to call Bhagwan and just say ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and also SMS those words to him. At the bottom of the message was his mobile phone number.

The message says: “As soon as the phone is answered, the caller should say ‘Jai Shri Ram’. No matter what the response is at the other end (from Bhagwan), our response should only be ‘Jai Shri Ram’. After that, he only should be irritated and cut the call.”

Asking as many people as possible to send him SMSes, the message says: “He should tire of deleting such messages. If he answers the phone, he should hear Jai Shri Ram. He should not be able to sleep at night. If he changes his number, we should collect the new number and do the same. Frustrated, he should meditate on Ram for peace. How about we give him that level of trouble?”

Bhagwan spoke to this reporter at 9.45 am, and spoke freely then. However, within two hours, when this reporter called his number to ask whether he had been getting such messages and calls, the call was deliberately cut and was switched off soon after.

Repeated calls to the Mysuru Police Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner went unanswered.

Kuvempunagar Police Inspector Shekar G told The News Minute that they had registered a case of criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code. 

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