Bengaluru: In yet another instance to show rising intolerance in India, a local BJP leader on Monday threatened to chop off the head of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in public if he consumed beef.
The BJP leader, S. N. Channabasappa who made the highly provocative remarks, has been arrested under sections 153, 353 and 506 of the Indian penal code, local media reported Tuesday.
"We will produce him in a local court on Wednesday for police custody and interrogation and action after viewing and listening to a video in which his brief speech was recorded," Shivamogga Superintendent of Police Ravi D. Channannavar said.
Shivamogga is 260 km from Bengaluru in the state's central Malnad region.
Channabasappa, ex-president of erstwhile Shivamogga City Municipal Council, threat to the Chief Minister was in response to his comment on eating beef.
“I will eat beef now. Who are you to question me?” Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said during a recent press conference. In the same press meet, he also took a dig at fringe right wing groups that police Indian culture.
Channabasappa made the controversial remarks during a protest organised by the local party unit against Siddaramaiah’s reported comment on beef eating last week.
“How dare you lay your hands on the neck of Gomata? You are openly saying with a dictatorial attitude that you will eat cow meat… If you have the guts, you come here and eat at Gopi Circle (in Shivamogga), then, let there be no doubt that on that day, you will be beheaded,” Channabasappa said.
"... Are you playing with the emotions of Hindus? Don’t do it…,” Channabasappa had warned at the meeting held Monday.
Remarks were described as “a provocative statement” by Siddaramaiah.
“It is a provocative statement. I will ask the police to inquire into it. If it is true, they will definitely take action,” he said.
“If I say I will eat, how will it harm majority community? Don’t we eat other kinds of meat?” he said.
“…food habit is an individual’s choice and should be left to them; no one should interfere with it.By interfering and attacking one’s rights is not correct. It is against the Constitution. It is against individual liberty, it should not be done", he added.
Meanwhile, the BJP's state unit, however, disowned Channabassappa's threat and said it was not responsible for such statements made by an ordinary member.
"We do not endorse such irresponsible statements and will seek clarification from him (Channabasappa)," BJP spokesman S. Prakash told IANS from Bengaluru.
Playing down the threat, Prakash said the accused member was not even an office bearer of the BJP's district unit.
The BJP leader's threat to the Karnataka Chief Minister was made amid protest all across India against rising intolerance in the country.
Few months after a 50-year-old Muslim man was lynched by a Hindu mob in Dadri, some 45 kms from New Delhi, allegedly for eating beef.
Weeks after this incident, a 20-year-old Muslim youth was beaten to death near Shimla in Himachal Pradesh on the claim that he was part of a gang involved in cow smuggling.
Days later Delhi police allegedly raided Kerala House in New Delhi after receiving complaint that the canteen is serving beef.
Ironically, BJP leaders are issuing threats and killing innocents for eating beef, the BJP and RSS leaders are terming the protests against the prevalent alarming situation as 'fabricated protest", "Political stunt" and due to "anti-national sentiments".