Bengaluru activists file complaints against Tejasvi Surya for hate speech, violating MCC

Complaints were also filed against BJP MP PC Mohan and Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje for allegedly disrupting communal harmony and engaging in unlawful assembly.
Tejasvi Surya
Tejasvi Surya
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A complaint has been filed against BJP’s Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya for statements that were allegedly “factually wrong and incendiary” and “an explicit call for violence against the Muslim community”. The complaint, which also accused him of corrupt practices, violation of the Model Code of Conduct, disruption of communal harmony, and unlawful assembly, was filed with the Election Commission and the Karnataka police on Wednesday, March 20. The complaints, filed by Hate Speech Beda, a group of activists and citizens dedicated to combating hate speech, were also forwarded to the District Election Officer and the Chief Election Commissioner, urging action against Tejasvi Surya for corrupt practices and violations of the Model Code of Conduct.

Besides Tejasvi Surya, complaints were also filed against BJP MP PC Mohan and Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje for allegedly disrupting communal harmony and engaging in unlawful assembly. 

Referring to Tejasvi’s comments and social media posts made following an assault on a Bengaluru shop owner, the complaint said, “Such statements are not only factually wrong and incendiary but also an explicit call for violence against the Muslim community. He has called them ‘anti-social elements’ and that with political backing available to ‘Jihadis’, in his opinion, ‘such incidents of crime against Hindus have risen in our state’. It is evident that he is attempting to create hatred between the Hindu and Muslim communities, calling them ‘Jihadis’, and disrupt communal harmony in the lead up to the elections.”

A shop owner in Bengaluru's Nagarathpete area was assaulted by a group for allegedly playing Hanuman Chalisa during the Azan (Muslim call to prayer) on Sunday, March 17. An FIR filed on Monday, March 18, indicated no religious motive behind the incident. All the five accused responsible for assaulting the shop owner have been arrested.

Read: Bengaluru shop owner assaulted, allegedly for playing Hanuman Chalisa

Hate Speech Beda’s complaint also raised concerns about Tejasvi’s conduct while the investigation into the assault is underway, alleging that he is conducting a “parallel trial” and obstructing the investigation. It said that the contents of the FIR and complaint filed by the shop owner do not suggest any religious motives behind the attack, contrary to Tejasvi's assertions. The police themselves have clarified that the altercation was not driven by communal factors, the complaint pointed out.

On Tuesday, March 19, pro-Hindu groups organised a massive protest at Siddanna Galli in Nagarathpete. BJP MP Tejasvi Surya and Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje, along with other protesters, were taken into preventive custody as the police had not granted permission as the Model Code of Conduct is in force. 

The group further brought to notice the various provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and the Indian Penal Code that have been violated by Tejasvi Surya. “The ECI must ensure immediately that communal harmony during the election period is not vitiated by such candidates and political parties that are attempting to disrupt communal harmony and create hatred as well as violence against the Muslim community during elections … As Mr Tejasvi Surya and his party, the BJP, are in clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct, we demand that our complaint be enquired into and immediate action be taken against him, including the initiation of prosecution,” it said. 

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