Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's use of a colloquial Kannada phrase — 'mini mini powder' — triggered a series of memes and puns on the phrase on social media. He used the term to describe the white powdery substance, which was retrieved from the bank locker of Aditya Rao, the man who is suspected to have planted a bomb at the Mangaluru airport on January 20.
However, it looks like the memes have not gone down well with the JD(S) leader or his supporters. Based on an injection suit filed by advocate Ismail Zabiulla, the City Civil and Sessions court in Bengaluru issued an order directing media houses that Kumaraswamy should not be mocked for his statement.
The interim order was issued on February 1 against Vijayavani newspaper and 46 other media houses. It restrains the publications from "defaming, derogating and disparaging the image name and reputation of (Kumaraswamy)”. Any reference of words ‘mini-mini powder’, which links Kumaraswamy, is barred under the law — either by writing, airing, printing or uploading any article or morphed and distorted images or videos and making sarcastic remarks, memes, jokes, comic ads or reckless statements, said the order.
Akshit Suvarna, a member of the JD(S) in Dakshina Kannada, had filed a complaint in the Cyber Crime police station over the issue. "We submitted a complaint to the Commissioner and the Cyber Crime police about how social media pages and individuals were poking fun at what Kumaraswamy said and making it viral," Akshit told TNM.
Kumaraswamy made the now-infamous remark during a press conference over the bomb scare in Mangaluru. Aditya Rao, a resident of the city, was arrested after he surrendered, claiming he had planted an explosive in the Mangaluru International Airport. At the press meet, the former CM was trying to make a point that it was not a bomb but a firecracker, which had “mini-mini powder”.
The usage of the remark was ridiculed by social media users, with many posts making references to talcum powder.
Taking to Twitter, Kumaraswamy said, "'Mini mini' is an expression used for anything that glimmers in Kannada in rural areas. If the BJP is making fun of that word, it is insulting Kannada and rural parts of the state.”
ಗ್ರಾಮೀಣ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಳೆಯುವ ಪದಾರ್ಥಕ್ಕೆ ಮಿಣಿಮಿಣಿ ಎನ್ನಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಅದು ಶುದ್ಧ ಕನ್ನಡ, ಗ್ರಾಮೀಣ ಪದ. ಅದನ್ನೇ ಅಪಮಾನಕ್ಕೆ ಬಳಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ ಎಂದರೆ ಅದು ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕೆ, ಗ್ರಾಮೀಣ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಅಪಮಾನ. ಎಷ್ಟೇ ಆಗಲಿ ಬಿಜೆಪಿಗರ ಜೀನ್ ಪಾಕಿಸ್ತಾನದ್ದಲ್ಲವೇ. ಅದಕ್ಕೇ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಪದಗಳು ತಾತ್ಸಾರ.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) January 28, 2020
This is not the first time the JD(S) leader has been the target of ridicule for something he has said. During the audio release of his son's movie, he had remarked: "Nikhil Yellidyappa" (where are you, Nikhil?). This became the subject of many social media memes and puns in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, as Nikhil was one of the candidates from the party.