A district office bearer of the BJP in Karnataka has threatened to behead Chief Minister Siddaramaiah if he “dares to eat beef” and “play with his (severed) head”.
Initially, the BJP denied any such statement, but later said that the man was only a worker and not a party leader, and that it had sought an explanation from him.
Shivamogga district secretary of the BJP SN Channabasappa said on Monday that if Siddaramaiah dared to eat beef at Gopi Circle in Shivamogga town, he would be beheaded. Channabasappa made these comments at a protest organized by the party against Siddaramaiah’s statement that he would eat beef if he wished, and that the BJP did not have the right to question him on it.
When contacted, BJP state spokesperson S Prakash told The News Minute: “Why don’t you ask him? If a (leader) in a district has said something, what can we do?”
Asked if the statement did not constitute a threat, Prakash said “don’t make up stories”. “I will not go by media reports. I will find out from him what he has said.”
A video available with The News Minute shows Channabasappa daring Siddaramaiah to eat beef in Gopi Circle in Shivamogga town. Following this, he is seen saying that if Siddaramaiah did so, he would “play with Siddaramaiah’s (severed) head”.
“Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is behaving like a dictator. He has stated he would eat beef if he chooses to do so and nobody could stop him. Let him eat beef at Gopi Circle in Shivamogga. If he does so, he will be beheaded. We won’t think twice about that. By making such a statement, the Congress leader has hurt the sentiments of Hindus. We have all grown up drinking cow’s milk,” Deccan Herald quoted him as saying.
Some time later, Prakash called this reporter back and said that Channabasappa was not the district secretary of the party, but only a worker. “We have 80 lakh members in the state. How can we be responsible for them?”
Asked whether the party would take any action against Channabasappa, Prakash said: “Definitely, if has said (it) we will take action. We have asked him for an explanation. The statement was unnecessary and uncalled for.”
Shivamogga SP Ravi Channannavar told The News Minute that the Congress district president and other leaders had lodged a complaint. “We are looking into the case, and necessary legal action would be taken against the leader. A case of criminal intimidation is registered against BJP leader Channabasappa,” he said.
Speaking to Times Now, Siddaramaiah said: “It is a provocative statement. I have asked police to look into it and if true, will take action. BJP is known for such things, that’s why we are opposing them. These people are known for intolerance, government will take action against those who make provocative statements and spread intolerance. Nobody can threaten me.” Shivamogga Congress district president Prasanna Kumar has filed the complaint.
Update: Shivamogga district police arrested BJP leader Channabasappa on Tuesday evening under sections 153 (spreading enmity between different groups of people), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. An FIR had been filed with the Doddapete police station in the afternoon.
The Karnataka unit of the BJp released a statement on Tuesday night, saying that the party "unconditionally disowns the statement of Channabasappa Shimoga BJP leader against CM Siddaramaiah and terms it as an uncalled for speech he delivered. He has been sternly warned against using such provocative, unbecoming language despite being instigated by others." The statement also said that it had sought a statement from him.
It added that the party had asked all leaders to "restrain from using offensive language and not to cross lakshman Rekha at any point under whatever circumstance. We completely disapprove Channabasappa's statement which is againt our political cutlure and our ethos."