Bengaluru: Pramod Muthalik, the chief of the Karnataka-based rightwing group Sri Ram Sene, has provoked anger with a comment in defence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Hitting out at people who have accused PM Modi of keeping silent on the murder last year of journalist Gauri Lankesh, Pramod Muthalik questioned on Sunday, "why should the prime minister react if some dog dies in Karnataka?"
- Pramod Muthalik provokes anger with a comment in defence of PM Modi
- "Why should the PM react if some dog dies in Karnataka": Muthalik
- Muthalik's Sri Ram Sene behind attack on women at a Mangalore pub in 2009
He was speaking at a public meeting in Bengaluru.
"Everyone is saying that Hindu groups conspired to kill Gauri Lankesh, but two murders in Maharashtra and two in Karnataka took place during Congress rule," he said, referring to the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Left leader Govind Pansare and Kannada writer MM Kalburagi.
"No one questioned the Congress government's failure... instead these Left-leaning intellectuals ask PM Modi to speak on Gauri Lankesh's death. Do you expect Modi to respond every time a dog dies in Karnataka," he questioned.
The comment comparing the journalist's killing to that of a dog was "disgusting, nauseating, revolting", said Congress leader Manish Tiwari, wondering in a tweet whether the PM would condone it.
Under attack, Muthalik today sought to explain that he did not mean to compare Gauri Lankesh to a dog.
Pramod Muthalik's Sri Ram Sene is notorious for a vicious attack in 2009, on young men and women at a pub in Mangalore.
Investigators are looking into the outfit's possible links to the murder of Gauri Lankesh, who was known for her strong views against rightwing groups.
Muthalik has reportedly been named in statements by two arrested men. Parshuram Waghmare, the last of six suspects to be arrested and widely believed to be the one who actually pulled the trigger - was seen in a photo with Muthalik. Muthalik said he did not always know the many people who posed with him for photos.
The investigation team probing Gauri Lankesh's murder has summoned Sri Ram Sene leader Rakesh Math for questioning, a senior police official told news agency PTI on Friday.
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her residence in Bengaluru on September 5.