Madras HC criticises Shobha Karandlaje for divisive remarks against TN people

The court said that Shobha made the statement before the NIA conducted searches in Chennai and adjourned the plea to July 12.
Shobha Karandlaje
Shobha Karandlaje
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The Madras High Court on Wednesday, July 10, criticised Union Minister of State and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shobha Karandlaje for her divisive remarks in the aftermath of the Rameshwaram Cafe blast in Bengaluru on March 1.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered by Tamil Nadu police on March 20 based on a complaint against Shobha for her remarks that people of Tamil Nadu are planting bombs in Bengaluru cafes. 

A petition was filed in the Madras HC by Shobha to quash the FIR citing that she only wanted to raise concerns about the state of internal security in Tamil Nadu, and called the complaint as a figment of imagination. She also claimed that she had retracted the comments and apologised to people of Tamil Nadu through a social media post on March 19. 

Appearing on behalf of the government, advocate KMD Muhilan appealed to the court to look at the video of the incident and assess the tone of the minister’s comment. He said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was yet to release an official statement when the comments were made and contended that it was intended to promote enmity between two groups of people. 

Refusing to grant interim relief, Justice G Jayachandran said the minister should have disclosed information to the police if she was aware of the facts, and that she failed to act like a responsible citizen. The court said that Shobha made the statement before the NIA conducted searches in Chennai and adjourned the plea to Friday, July 12. “It means you are aware of the facts. You know who the trained persons are, who trained them, and what they have done," the court noted, adding that the matter must be probed. 

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Shobha had said, “One person comes from Tamil Nadu and plants a bomb in a cafe. Another person comes from Delhi and raises pro-Pak slogans in Vidhana Soudha. Another man comes from Kerala and throws acid at college students.” 

This is not the first time that the BJP leader has found herself at the centre of a controversy. In 2020, Shobha said people from Kerala travelling to Karnataka should furnish reasons for their travels, reasoning that Malayalis were violently protesting in Mangaluru against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). She was booked by the Kerala police later for creating animosity. 

In 2018, she alleged that 23 Hindu activists were killed by 'jihadis' in Karnataka. However, a ground report by Scroll exposed how some of the men named in the list were in fact alive, while a few others were killed in unrelated incidents.

Shobha has also claimed that an 18-year-old boy Paresh Mesta was tortured and killed by a communal mob in Karnataka, only to be proven wrong by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2022. 

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