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Karnataka government reopens 30-year-old case against Ram Mandir activists, arrests accused from Hubballi

Karnataka's Congress government's decision to reopen 30-year-old cases linked to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement led to arrests in Hubballi, sparking political tension. BJP leaders strongly criticized the move, citing its timing around the Ram Mandir inauguration. Selective reopening of cases and arrests of elderly individuals involved in historical incidents fuelled controversy in the state.

Karnataka government reopens 30-year-old case against Ram Mandir activists, arrests accused from Hubballi vkp
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First Published Jan 1, 2024, 6:29 PM IST

In a controversial move, Karnataka’s Congress government has taken a significant step to reopen cases from 30 years ago, leading to the arrest of activists in Hubballi. This decision, made around the time of the Sri Ram Mandir inauguration in Ayodhya, has sparked political tension in the state.

The situation has escalated as concerns emerged regarding the selective reopening of cases against activists involved in the Mandir movement of 1992. Allegations of vandalism and communal clashes during that period have resurfaced, prompting the Karnataka Police to take action.

The Babri Masjid, a mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, was destroyed by Hindu activists on December 6, 1992. This place is considered sacred in Hinduism as it's believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, an important deity. The demolition led to widespread riots and tensions between different communities across India, causing a significant impact on the social and political landscape of the country.

R. Ashoka, the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, strongly condemned Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's Congress government for allegedly apprehending activists associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement from three decades past. He warned that the BJP would vehemently oppose these arrests.

BJP leader N. Ravikumar, criticized the Congress, accusing the party of fueling divisive politics by resurrecting historical cases. He highlighted the contrast between the celebration of Tipu Jayanti and the purported neglect of honouring Lord Rama, insinuating a political motive behind these actions. The recent arrest of two individuals from Hubballi linked to a 30-year-old case related to the Ramjanmabhoomi struggle has drawn widespread attention. Questions were raised about the timing of these arrests, especially as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for participation in the Ram Mandir's inauguration.

When the case was initially registered, the accused individuals were in their youth, aged between 30 to 35 years. Presently, they all fall in the age range of 65 to 70 years. The police are actively searching for Raju Dharmadas, Srikanth Pujari, Ashok Kalaburagi, Shanmukh Katagara, Gurunathsa Katigara, Ramachandrasa Kalaburagi, and Amrita Kalaburagi.

Reports indicate that a specialized police team compiled a list of individuals allegedly involved in cases during the Ram Mandir movement. The first arrest was made by the Hubballi Police, apprehending Srikanth Poojari, the third accused in a case related to torching a minority-owned shop on December 5, 1992. An extensive search for eight other accused individuals in the case is currently ongoing.

Police sources explain that the accused individuals in the case are currently in their early and late 70s, and several of them have relocated from the city. Moreover, many of the accused hold prominent positions, prompting the police to consider the potential legal ramifications of taking action against them. 

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