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BJP’s Yeddyurappa denies right-wing groups having any role in Gauri Lankesh murder

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-09-2017 Sharan Poovanna

Bengaluru: B.S. Yeddyurappa, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Karnataka unit president and former state chief minister on Monday said investigating agencies must question Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to see if the latter has any information or evidence on journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder in Bengaluru last Tuesday.

Yeddyurappa was reacting to claims that right-wing organisations were behind the murder of Lankesh, an open critic of Hindutva ideologies. She was shot dead by unidentified persons outside her home in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru at around 8 pm on 5 September.

“If Rahul Gandhi gave a statement, he must be questioned to find out if he has any evidence and bring it out,” Yeddyurappa said.

On 6 September, Gandhi had tweeted, “Anybody who speaks against the RSS/BJP is attacked & even killed. They want to impose only one ideology which is against the nature of India”. The previous day, he had tweeted that “the truth will never be silenced.”

Yeddyurappa maintained that no right-wing organisation was behind the murder of Lankesh and added that whoever was behind it must be brought to book and hanged.

Meanwhile, a BJP Yuva Morcha member served a legal notice against historian Ramchandra Guha for his statement to an online news portal that it was very likely that the killers of Lankesh came from the same Sangh Parivar from which the murderers of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi came.

The BJP and other right-wing organisations had said that leftist or Naxal organisations could have been behind the killing as Lankesh had antagonised them by bringing people into the mainstream and weakening their struggle.

However, former secretary of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) Noor Shridhar on Monday said the Naxal movement is not an “underworld gang”. He said that any decision within the group is always preceded by talks, debates and condemnation. “If we do decide to take action, we will say it. If not, we will say it after we have taken the action,” he said in Bengaluru on Monday.

Shridhar, who has been associated with the Naxal movement in the state for over 20 years, returned to civil society three years ago with the help of Lankesh and continues to fight for the cause.

The BJP has used Lankesh’s murder to back its claim that there was absolute failure in the law and order system in the state to corner the Siddaramaiah led Congress government.

On Monday, the BJP reiterated its demand that Bengaluru in-charge and former state home minister K.J. George resign from his post.

Yeddyurappa said that despite a Supreme Court order (on 6 September) which ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into late deputy superintendent of police (DySP) M.K. Ganapathy’s suicide last July, the minister and two other senior officials named by the deceased remain in their posts.

In a television interview on 7 July last year, Ganapathy accused George, the then home minister and two senior police officials—IGP Pronab Mohanty and ADGP A.M. Prasad—of harassing him over the years. A few hours later, Ganapathy was found hanging from a ceiling fan at a lodge in Kodagu district, about 250 km from Bengaluru.

Ganapathy’s suicide had led to widespread protests. Siddaramaiah handed the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), a state government probing agency, in July 2016. Three months later, George was re-inducted into the cabinet after the CID cleared all three, drawing sharp criticism from citizen groups and political parties.

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