Mangaluru, May 26, 2023: The Congress will file a defamation case against Harish Poonja, Belthangady MLA, if he fails to apologise for his alleged statement that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is responsible for the murder of 24 Hindus, said president of Dakshina Kannada District Congress Committee and MLC K. Harish Kumar here on Thursday.
Talking to reporters, Mr. Kumar said the Congress workers have already filed a complaint each in Belthangady, Puttur, and Mangaluru against Mr. Poonja for promoting enmity among communities by his statement.
“We will issue a legal notice to Mr. Poonja. If he fails to appologise for his statement, we will file civil and criminal defamation cases against him,” Mr. Kumar said.
On May 22 at a felicitation function in Belthangady, Mr. Poonja, while expressing his displeasure over, what he called, the former BJP district unit office-bearer Satyajit Surathkal’s campaign against him in Belthangady constituency, questioned the latter for seeking votes for Mr. Siddaramaiah who, he allegedly said, was responsible for the murder of 24 Hindus.
“How can you seek votes for the Congress which has mentioned about banning the Bajrang Dal. Belthangady people are asking you what is the type of Hindutva you are practising,” Mr. Poonja had allegedly said.
Based on a complaint by the Congress worker Namita K. Poojary, the Belthangady police booked Mr. Poonja and programme organiser Jayant Kotiyan for offences punishable under Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153 (A) (promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion,race), and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
The complaints filed by the Congress workers in Puttur and Mangaluru are being forwarded to the Belthangady police for investigation, the police said.
On the statement by the BJP State president Nalin Kumar Kateel that the Congress was exhibiting anti-Hindu sentiments, Mr. Kumar said: “The Congress is not against the Hindus or any other community. We work for all communities. People know who is anti Hindu. People know under whose orders the police badly hit Hindutva activists (accused in putting up a banner in Puttur showing Mr. Kateel and former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda in poor light),” he said.
People from coastal Karnataka region will definitely come out of the fake Hindutva of the BJP and will vote for the Congress in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, he said.
Mr. Kumar asked the police to take effective action against those involved in the supply of narcotic drugs, in gambling and illegal sand extraction, and transportation in Dakshina Kannada.