Against the backdrop of nationwide outrage over the killing of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday accused liberals and intellectuals of speaking eloquently for the rights of “Maoists and Naxalites” but practicing “conspicuous silence” when RSS and BJP workers are killed in Karnataka and Kerala.
“Nowadays people give their opinion on social media. There are comments on Lankesh by intellectuals, so-called liberals. Why are they silent on killing of RSS workers in Kerala?
“Those who give lessons on liberal values, I want to ask them, did not the RSS workers killed by CPI-M have human rights? They speak for Maoists, rights of Naxalites. However, when RSS, the BJP workers are killed, my liberal friends, who speak eloquently and strongly against killing of journalists or Maoists, maintain conspicuous silence,” he told the media.
Prasad said lots of “prejudiced and malafide comments” were being made on the “regrettable and unfortunate” death of Lankesh. “We condemned it,” he said adding, “the hypocrisy and double standards” needed to be exposed.
He also asked if the Karnataka government had provided Lankesh adequate security if she was working with it to bring Maoists to the mainstream.
“Lankesh’s brother has raised some questions. He said Lankesh had supported Naxalites and was trying to bring them to the mainstream. This is what agitated the Naxalites,” he said.
“Our question is was Lankesh doing it with the support of the state? If yes, why then was adequate security not given to her? It is a serious issue. BJP wants to know.”
He also took a dig at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for holding the RSS and right-wing ideology responsible for the killing of journalist-activist Lankesh even before the actual investigation had started.
“Before the investigation starts, Rahul Gandhi, who always speaks without any home work, has publicly alleged that right wing and the RSS ideology was responsible. Therefore, he has given a verdict of guilty. The BJP would like to ask the Chief Minister of Karnataka that in the light of the unilateral malafide comment of Rahul Gandhi, should we expect a fair investigation by the SIT,” he said.
The BJP leader added that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should make it clear whether he agreed with Gandhi’s comments.
Calling Lankesh’s murder not a first such case in the state, Prasad questioned why were not the killers of rationalist M.M. Kalburgi caught so far.
“It is not the first incident in Karnataka. Why are the killers of Kalburgi not captured yet? Whose government is there? Rahul Gandhi asks us questions. Has he asked the (Karnataka) Chief Minister why killers are not caught?” he said.
“We do not want any politics on the issue. We hope the Congress government holds fair investigations and captures the killers.”