Sri Rama Sene leader and head of Karuneshwara mutt Siddalinga Swami on Saturday courted fresh controversy when he suggested that student protesters should “meet the same fate” as the slain journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh. He was speaking at an event by the Yuva Viveka Bharata Sangha and a video of the event emerged on Saturday.
"(They are) only 14-15 years, they are talking bad words about Modi and Shah. I think soon they should be made to go where Gauri Lankesh is," Siddalinga Swami said, as the crowd is heard cheering him on.
His statement comes just days after he offered Rs 3 lakh for anyone who cuts off the tongues of three Kashmiri students studying in an engineering institute in Hubballi after they were charged with sedition for allegedly saying pro-Pakistan slogans.
Gauri Lankesh, a senior Karnataka journalist and editor of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead at her residence in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. Known to be a staunch critic of the right-wing, 55-year-old Gauri’s murder had shocked India. The case is still under investigation, with 18 people having been arrested by the CBI Special Investigation Team in connection with the crime. The latest development was the arrest of Rushikesh Devdikar, a key suspect who was absconding, in January 2020.
Siddalinga Swami is reportedly the honorary president of pro-Hindutva outfit Shri Rama Sene. One of the key arrests made in the Gauri Lankesh case was that of Parashuram Waghmore in 2018. SIT sources said the Waghmore was linked to Shri Rama Sene with its chief Pramod Muthalik being spotted in a photograph with Waghmore. However, Muthalik has denied that he knew Waghmore.