In an alarming incident in Mandya district, Karnataka, the veteran scholar HP Nagarajaya (Hampana), was summoned to the police station for allegedly criticizing the BJP government. Hampana was inaugurating the Taluk Literature Conference in Mandya on January 17, 2021 and was critical of the Modi government in his speech on the three infamous agriculture laws. The scholar had said, “For the past several days, farmers have been sitting on the streets in the cold and protesting. Shouldn’t the Prime Minister visit and talk to the farmers? The government is acting like Duryodhana.” Speaking to Naanugauri.com, Aarti Hampana, daughter of Hampana said, “he is being questioned just for saying this. Two BJP activists lodged a complaint at Mandya police station and he has been summoned to the Mandya police station from Bangalore. I don’t know what was the grievous need for summoning him to the station with no FIR? This is just the tyranny of police.”
Several scholars across the state have urged Chief Minister Yeddyurappa to take action against police. Senior journalist Abburu Rajasekhar condemned this cowardly act by noting that, “this heartless and mindless government is attacking scholars. Hampana rightly has criticised the anti-farmers’ laws. I rigidly condemn a dictatorship that this government represents and this ghastly event.” According to the renowned scholar and a senior journalist, Lakshmana Kodasay, “summoning a scholar like Hampana of an international repute to a police station is a cruel act of this government.” He said, “If Yaddyurappa and Home Minister Basavaraja Bommai have any respect for the scholars in the country, they must apologise to Hampana.” BM Haneef wondered, under what sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), is it a crime to call someone Duryodhana? He also said, “calling this government Duryodhana is the most polite thing one could do. This is not just an insult to Hampana but an insult to Kannada Sahitya Parishad and to Kannada literature.”
Speaking to the media personnel in Madhugiri, KN Rajanna the former president of Apex Bank, has expressed his outrage against the Karnataka police’s summoning of the veteran scholar, Hampana, for inquiry. He reminded the authorities that Hampana has immensely contributed to Kannada literature. Severely criticizing this act of the police and the government, he pointed out that, “many people in this country are anxious about the corrupt system, and informed by their rights, they also express this anxiety. Hampana was doing exactly the same. Summoning him for a police inquiry for just doing this is a great insult for the scholars and having said that, I condemn it.”
Observing this act of the police, as an attack on the freedom of expression and speech guaranteed by the Constitution of India, Rajanna said, “It is reprehensible that the Karnataka police had to interrogate the veteran scholar Hampana Nagraj, for being critical about the system and an elected representative.” Explaining the grotesque action of the police against the scholar, he said, “everyone in this country has freedom of expression and speech and rights to criticize and appreciate political leaders and the political system.” He asked if Modi and Yeddyurappa have plans of taking up policing every word of criticisms against them as their full time job. Rajanna Shared that it is disturbing to see Hampana being questioned for no crime committed by him and demanded that the government must issue a public apology to the scholar.
The article was first published in naanugauri.com and is translated into English by Yogesh S.