The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Karnataka youth wing today slapped a legal notice against noted historian Ramchandra Guha over comments the latter made in the aftermath of the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh.
A day after Lankesh was shot dead at her Bengaluru home, Ram Guha seemingly blamed the Sangh Parivar for the scribe’s murder.
“It is very likely that her [Gauri Lankesh’s] murderers came from the same Sangh Parivar from which the murderers of [Govind] Pansare, [Narendra] Dabholkar and [MM] Kalburgi came,” Guha had said, referring to the murders of rationalists in which elements of the right-wing are suspected to be involved.
“The ruling dispensation in Delhi has created a climate of hate and intolerance,” Guha had gone on to say.
The Karnataka BJP’s youth wing has taken offence to Guha’s comments and in its legal notice that Guha immediately apologise.
In the notice, a copy of which is with IndiaToday.in, Karunakar Khasale, state secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha, Karnataka, accuses Guha of making “false” and “baseless allegations” that are “calculated to tarnish the image and reputation of” the RSS and the BJP.
“Your deliberate, false and calculated statement against our client’s organisation has caused great anguish in the minds thousands of its members and sympathisers,” the notice reads. “your baseless utterances are also calculated to influence and mislead the on-going investigations of the said incidents. This amounts to illegal interference in the course of justice and is also a grave offence.”
The notice demands that Guha immediately issue an apology to the BJP and the RSS for “making such defamatory, baseless and false allegations”. Guha has been asked to refrain from making similar statements.
“If you fail to comply with the aforesaid instructions, our client… would be constrained to initiate civil and criminal prosecution against you, at your sole costs and consequences,” the notice ends.
Lankesh, a noted critic of the extreme right-wing and the editor of a Kannada weekly, was shot dead outside her Bengaluru home on September 5. Lankesh was killed by bike-borne, helmet-wearing assailants in an incident that bore stark resemblance to a hit job.
Her murder sparked a firestorm of criticism, most of it directed at the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other associated groups. Lankesh’s ideological differences with the right led many to allege that extreme Hindutva forces may have been behind the killing.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was among those who made the connection. “Anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP, against the ideology of the RSS is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed,” Gandhi had said a day after Lankesh was killed. The idea is that there should only be once voice in the country.” Gandhi’s comments were sharply criticised by the BJP.
Spoke to the CM of Karnataka and mentioned that it's very important that people who have murdered Gauri Lankesh are caught and punished
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) September 6, 2017
Investigation into the killing, led by a Special Investigative Team, however, is yet to identify Lankesh’s murderers. Notably, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has asked the SIT to link Lankesh’s murder probe with the investigation into the killing of rationalist MM Kalburgi.