BJP lawmaker Shobha Karandlaje today asked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to ensure that a journalist arrested for allegedly circulating a "forged" letter on dividing Karnataka's Lingayat community benefits from a fair police investigation. She also alleged that the state government has launched a "witchhunt" against those supporting the BJP in the state.
The letter, which the police claims is forged, purportedly has Karnataka minister MB Patil telling UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi that bringing about a divide in the Lingayat community will benefit the state Congress. The journalist, SA Hemant Kumar, was arrested on charges of circulating the "fake letter".
"There is no connection between Hemant Kumar and this letter. The JD(S)-Congress government is filing false cases against BJP workers and party sympathisers for fear of losing the elections," Shobha Karandlaje claimed.
Ahead of the assembly polls in Karnataka last year, the then Congress government led by Siddaramaiah had suggested to the centre that Lingayats be given separate religious status. Many saw this as an attempt to divide the community, which predominantly votes for the BJP.
The letter had first surfaced before the assembly elections in May 2018, then appeared again just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in a Kannada newspaper. The BJP also tweeted that the letter was genuine, saying: "Congress exposed. The entire Lingayat & Veerashaiva community division was planted under direct instructions of Sonia Gandhi. The letter written to Sonia Gandhi by Congress leader MB Patil exposes shocking details of how she wanted to divide Hindu communities in Karnataka."
The probe was handed over to the crime investigation department after MB Patil lodged a complaint. According to a press release from the police, a case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of Peoples Act on April 16.