New Delhi: A police complaint has been filed against playwright Girish Karnad for wearing a sign that read “Me Too Urban Naxal” at the Gauri Memorial Trust’s convention in Bengaluru earlier this week.
Amruthesh N.P., the defence lawyer for all the accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, filed the complaint at the Vidhana Soudha police station in Bengaluru, claiming that “Girish Karnad and his associates have Maoist links” and claiming he was allegedly involved in the Bhima Koregaon riots in which one person died.
The complaint reads, “By posting such a title on his body, Mr Karnad has tried to promote and propagate the violent and criminal activities of naxalism… There is no urban or rural Naxal. I suspect that Girish Karnad is the root cause for the Naxal movement in Karnataka and he is hand-in-glove with Naxals but pretends to bring them into the mainstream.
“It is shocking to me that a Jnanpith Awardee is active in the Naxalite movement, which is banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” the complaint further reads.
The complaint adds that the police must probe Karnad’s ‘involvement’ in the Bhima Koregaon riots also find out whether his “accomplices Prakash Raj, Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mevani” were also involved in the Naxal movement.
The lawyer, who represents the Janajagruthi Samiti, a right-wing group which is supporting the accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, has stated that ‘urban Naxals’ are “those who spread insurgency against the nation,” and has called for actions against “such Naxal sympathisers.”
Speaking at the first anniversary of journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder, Girish Karnad had criticised the arrests of various intellectuals and activists last week.
“What is horrifying now is not what the Naxals or terrorists are doing but what the police are saying. The accusations against rationalists are a complete hogwash. It is not rational talk. It’s scary because they believe they can do what they want. Someone in Pune is investigating the case and someone in Delhi is directing them. This is grim. If speaking up means being a Naxal then I am an urban Naxal. I am proud to be a part of the hit list,” Karnad had said.
Karnad was referring to the hit list of 34 intellectuals prepared by Amol Kale, suspected mastermind of Gauri Lankesh’s murder, which includes Karnad. Karnad’s name was one among eight others from Karnataka on the list.
Karnad refused to comment on the complaint and said he would wait until the investigation came to an end. As reported by Hindustan Times, Karnad said, “It is his democratic right to make a complaint and I will not comment against that. Let us see what the police does next.”
Meanwhile, the complaint has been transferred to the Ulsoor Gate police station, under whose jurisdiction the venue of the memorial falls.
“We are in possession of the complaint and will look into the matter,” D. Devraja, deputy commissioner of police, Central sub-division, said.