Sri Rama Sena chief Pramod Muthalik
Sri Rama Sena founder leader Pramod Muthalik has embarrassed the BJP in Karnataka with a virulent hate speech ahead of assembly elections. Photo: Instagram/pramod_muthalik_official

'Trap 10 Muslim girls': Sri Rama Sena embarrasses BJP in Karnataka

For once, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), facing a do-or-die assembly election in Karnataka, is feeling the heat from Sri Rama Sena founder leader Pramod Muthalik, a controversial man at the best of times.

The BJP has silently cheered each time Muthalik ranted against Muslims in particular, however distasteful his statements were even to a majority of Hindus. His latest salvo has, however, sent the BJP scurrying for cover.

At a time when the Sangh Parivar is going out of the way to say that it wants to court Muslims, India’s largest minority, Muthalik has come out a statement that has sent shock waves in Karnataka and even beyond.

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Speaking in Bagalkot on Sunday (February 19), Muthalik said: “If one Hindu girl falls victim to Love Jihad, you trap 10 Muslim girls.”

Those Hindus who do this will be given a job and security by his organisation, he added.

For good measure, he added: “I am not saying this because an election is coming. The protection of Hindus is our goal. I have made this statement with this intention in mind.”

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As the self-claimed Hindu leader came under widespread attack, he said he had no regrets about his comments.

BJP dilemma

Karnataka’s BJP government, having stoked Hindu majoritarianism all this while, is now in a fix. BJP leaders admit that the comments could damage the party’s election strategy.

Until now, the BJP was merrily on the aggression over such issues as hijab, halal and azan. But ever since the party leadership decided to backtrack in this year of elections, the BJP’s known Hindutva voices have fallen silent.

Former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has spoken about taking Muslims into confidence.

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According to a survey by BJP, the continuous attack on Muslims on several issues have created sympathy for Muslims among other communities.

To fight election?

If whatever he uttered wasn’t enough, Muthalik has vowed to contest the assembly election as an independent candidate from the Karkala constituency, from where Energy Minister V Sunil Kumar became an MLA.

He has accused Sunil Kumar of corruption.

“Sunil Kumar is involved in corruption, ignoring the ideology. I introduced Sunil Kumar from the district… Today he is practising ‘dongi’ Hinduism.” He vowed to teach the Minister a lesson.

Informed sources said Sunil Kumar is thinking of changing his constituency.

Muthalik conundrum

All these have made the BJP think twice before taking any action against Muthalik.

Some sources said the party wants to use his controversial statements to once again polarise voters but does not want him to contest against its candidates.

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Whatever the BJP may do or not do, there are growing demands across Karnataka seeking action against Muthalik.

Bahutva Sangathan member and lawyer Vinay Srinivas has questioned the police chief as to why no action was being taken against hate speeches in the state.

Some lawyers and students on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to the Director General of Police, seeking a suo moto FIR against Muthalik. So far, nothing has happened.

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