R Ashoka
R Ashoka

Karnataka BJP leader apologises to Bajrang Dal over remarks on invoking Goonda Act

The controversy stems from Ashoka’s remarks on how he invoked the Goonda Act on Bajrang Dal workers despite pressure during his tenure as Home Minister.

BJP leader and Leader of Opposition R Ashoka on Wednesday, February 22, apologised for his comments in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, where he mentioned invoking the Goonda Act against Bajrang Dal activists during his tenure as Home Minister. Speaking to the media, he said, “When I said that I put cases on Bajrang Dal activists when I was Home Minister, I didn’t mean to hurt them or any Hindutva activists. I apologise. I, too, worked as an activist of Bajrang Dal for ten years."

The controversy stems from Ashoka's remarks during a legislative session on February 15, where he referenced his tenure as Home Minister and the actions taken during the Mangaluru pub attack in 2009. Faced with Bajrang Dal’s ire over his remarks, Ashoka apologised for his remarks.

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During the zero hour, Mangaluru North MLA Bharath Shetty raised a question regarding the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) against him and Mangaluru South MLA for their alleged involvement in a protest in front of a school. Bharath denied any presence near the school during the protest, suggesting the complaints against him were coerced.

Home Minister G Parameshwara responded to Bharath's claims by revealing the findings of a preliminary investigation, which concluded that Bharath was indeed not present near the school during the alleged protest. Ashoka, seizing the opportunity to address the matter, demanded the suspension of the sub-inspector responsible for registering the FIR. He then went on to say, “When I was Home Minister there was pressure on me too. I never looked back. The Goonda Act had been imposed on all of them. You should take a bold stand like that. I had invoked the Goonda Act against the Bajrang Dal workers. You (Parameshwara) have been the Home Minister thrice, you know better how this works than all of us.” 

The Mangaluru pub attack dates back to January 24, 2009. The incident gained national and international attention for the violent attack on a pub in Mangaluru, where Sri Rama Sene members physically assaulted young men and women who were inside, claiming that the women were violating traditional values by being inside a pub. 

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