Bengaluru: The back-to-back brutal killing of a Digambar Jain monk in Belagavi district and the murder of a Hindu activist at T Narasipura in Karnataka in less than two months after the Congress government taking over, has triggered allegations of a return to the “jungle raj” which Chief Minister Siddaramaiah presided over in his earlier tenure as chief minister during 2013-18.
The police recovered the mutilated body of middle-aged Acharya Kamakumara Nandi Maharaj, the seer of Hirekodi Ashram in Chikkodi from an abandoned well and arrested two persons inconnection with the murder. However, they quickly sought to close the case saying that “It was a murder over a financial dispute”. But the Opposition BJP has strongly protested and demanded that the government uncover “the unseen hands” behind the killing which “resembled an ISI-style operation.”
Former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and other leaders said the Jain monk was leading a simple spiritual life after giving up 42 acres of ancestral property and “the police version that he was killed by the accused after he demanded the return of Rs 6 lakh he had lent, was completely baseless.”
Torture and savage killing
The monk had been subjected to high-voltage electric shocks and his body cut into nine pieces before being dumped in a farmhouse bore-well which belonged to one of the accused. The local police claimed that the crime had been committed by Narayana Basappa Muli and Hassan Sab Maqbul Dalayat and the duo had been arrested.
However, BJP leader Basanagouda Patil said the two accused were part of a large ISI-gang which was active in the region and the killing of the Digambar monk was part of a bigger conspiracy to create communal disharmony in the state. He said the Siddaramaiah government was trying to hush up the case and demanded that the CBI take up the investigation to get to the bottom of the truth.
As the government has insisted that the state police was competent enough to conduct the investigation, the BJP has stalled the proceedings of the legislature currently in session and met Governor Tawar Chand Gehlot on Wednesday and submitted a memorandum demanding a CBI inquiry into the murder.
The BJP leaders also took the government to task over the daylight murder of Yuva Brigade activist Venugopal at T Narasipura in Mysuru, the home district of chief minister Siddaramaiah. They said two groups of youth had clashed during Hanuman Jayanthi celebrations a few days ago and though the police were aware of the incident, they had failed to intervene effectively to prevent it from escalating. The murder was the result of “utter carelessness and inefficiency of the police and the district administration,” Bommai said.
Pointing out that there had been 24 deaths of RSS, Bajrang Dal and other Hindu activists during Siddaramaiah’s last tenure as chief minister which remained unsolved, and he had withdrawn pending cases against radical Muslim organisations like PFI and SDPI, Bommai said the killing of Venugopal was an indication that the return of the “jungle raj” with Siddaramaiah’s re-entry as chief minister. He said the BJP workers would hold state-wide protests against the failure of the law and order machinery and also bring it to the notice of the Union home minister Amit Shah.