At a literary meet on tolerance, organised by Dakshinayan in Bengaluru, Jnanpith recipient playwright Girish Karnad on September 2, 2018, had said that the ruling government at the Centre keeps discovering new language to further its politics. Speaking in Kannada, the playwright had said, “when we spoke about politics we used to speak of Lanchavatara (corruption’s dance) and now we are talking about Lynch-avatara (dance of lynchings).
Little did the eminent playwright know then, that he himself would be a victim of this “new language of politics”.
After “anti-national”, the new terminology that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has introduced us to talk politics and even arrest some human rights activists is “Urban Naxal”. Karnad, who was protesting this by wearing a placard 'Me Too Urban Naxal' during an event organised to mark the first death anniversary of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh on September 5 in Bengaluru, is now facing a police complaint for doing so.
The complaint was filed on Friday by one N.P. Amruthesh, a member of the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishat (an organisation of ‘devout Hindu’ lawyers who call themselves nationalists, and provide service to HIndutva organisations). He has filed a complaint with the Bengaluru police against Karnad accusing him of having “naxal links.” The complaint refers to the placard and it claims that Karnad was “declaring himself” an “urban naxal” and has demanded that he and his associates be investigated for “Maoist links in connection with Bhima Koregaon riots”.
Karnad had earlier also participated in a protest against the attack on the human rights activists, writers and lawyers, alleging that the BJP government was trying to divert the attention of the country from established Hindutva terrorism in the country.
Incidentally, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka probing into the assassination of Gauri Lankesh, has disclosed that all the accused, being legally defended by none other than Amruthesh, are members of the Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliates. It is, therefore, not surprising that the lawyer of SS has filed a complaint against Karnad that feeds into the parallel narrative of “Urban Naxal” that the BJP is building up to erase the reality of Hindutva terror.
This is also clear by the support that Amruthesh has got from the saffron brigade. Pramod Muthalik of Sri Rama Sene in Karnataka has given a memorandum to Sunil Kumar, IPS, demanding he register a suo motu case against Karnad, who is in the “hit-list” of SS, as per the SIT.
The list of the accused in Lankesh murder case is growing by the day. Sudhanva Gondhalekar of Shri Shiv Pratishtan Hindustan and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) have been named by the SIT as the 14th accused in the case. In fact, investigation in the Lankesh case has led the probe agencies towards a larger conspiracy of the Hindutva forces in the country. Interestingly, apart from a few media reports and the statements of the investigation officers, nowhere else, like the courtroom in Pune, are the names of Sanatan Sanstha and HJS or the word Hindutva being mentioned.
Gondhalekar, who was arrested in the case of arms and explosives hoarding by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), is now being said to have been present outside Lankesh house on September 5, 2017, on the evening that she was killed. Amol Kale, who was arrested by the SIT in the case, is now in the custody of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case of Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s murder. The CBI produced Kale in a court in Pune on September 6, 2018, and had told to the court that he was also a key conspirator in the murder of Dabholkar. According to the CBI, Kale had arranged the vehicle and firearms for Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar who confessed to have killed Dabholkar.
Kalaskar and Andure, residents of Aurangabad, were arrested by the ATS over the arms and explosives hoarding case. Rajesh Bangera and Amit Digwekar of SS who were arrested by the SIT of Karnataka in the case of Lankesh are also in the CBI custody.
While the CBI, police and the courts in Pune do not feel it important to even consider the fact that the ever growing list of accused are affiliated to the SS or HJS, the Maharashtra police, keen on unravelling an alleged assassination plot by “Urban Naxals”, too, seems uninterested in probing the involvement of Hindutva forces in various acts to kill dissent in the country.
The SIT will be filing its charge sheet in the case of Lankesh in the next two months. Since the investigating officials have already noted that SS is the mastermind behind the killings of rationalists and activists, we might have to witness more of tactics from the BJP to divert attention from questions being raised against Hindutva terrorism.