Right-wing group Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik has likened Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh's murder to the death of a dog.
Right-wing group Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik has likened Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder to the death of a dog. He drew this analogy while hitting out at critics for asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ‘break his silence’ on the killing of Lankesh who was assassinated outside her residence on September 5 last year.
According to news agency ANI, he asked why no questions were being asked when such incidents happen in the states governed by the Congress. He noted that four journalists were killed in Karnataka and Maharashtra under the Congress rule but ‘no one questioned the Congress government’s failure’.
“Two murders took place in Karnataka and two in Maharashtra in Congress rule. No one questioned Congress government failure. Instead, they are asking why is PM Modi silent and not speaking on Gauri Lankesh’s death. Is Modi responsible even if any dog dies in Karnataka?” Muthalik said amidst the chants of “Jai Shri Ram”.
Muthalik was referring to the chilling murders of MM Kalburgi (assassinated on August 30, 2015 at his residence in Dharwad district of Karnataka); Narendra Dabholkar (assassinated on August 20, 2013 neat Omkareshwar temple in Pune); Govind Pansare (assassinated on February 20, 2015 in Mumbai) and Gauri Lankesh (killed on September 5, 2017 in Bengaluru).
As the comments drew backlash, Muthalik later defended his statement, saying he didn’t ‘directly compare Lankesh to a dog’. He said that he was only pointing out that PM Modi cannot comment on every death in Karnataka.
Muthalik’s name has been mired in Lankesh’s assassination ever since Naveen Kumar, an accused in the case signed a statement before the police saying he had met Muthalik before the killing of the scribe. Later an image emerged in media showing Muthalik standing next to Parshuram Waghmare, the prime accused in the case. Muthalik has, however, denied knowing Waghmare and even said that he was not an activist of Sri Ram Sena.
Lankesh, 55, was shot dead by unidentified assailants outside her residence in Bengaluru on September 5 last year. So far, five persons have been arrested in connection with her killing.
Meanwhile, the Congress party has slammed Muthalik for his comments. Party spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “Disgusting, nauseating, revolting…vigilante group Sri Ram Sene’s Head Pramod Muthalik compares assassinated journalist Gauri Lankesh to a dog. Mr Prime Minister @narendramodi you did not condemn Gauri Lankesh’s murder are you now going to condone this too.”