On the evening of 24th October, Karnataka’s Raichur police arrested Social activist Doddipalya Narasimha Murthy and have charged him in cases which have been already closed by the courts.
Since then, the police with their press meet and statements are finding it difficult to justify his arrest.
The press meet yesterday (25th Oct) by Raichur city SP Vedamurthy on DN Murthy’s arrest could not make much sense to anyone.
The police statement says-
“DMN Murthy(who goes by the name Vinod) was arrested for organising a meeting 25 years ago with 8 people against the government that the govt. is not doing anything for poor people. He has been absconding from last 25 years”
The police statement has received severe flak from all sections of society in Karnataka. The civil society that strives to uphold people´s voices for democracy has questioned the police whether what is happening elsewhere in the country has also started here in Karnataka?
Doddipalya Narasimha Murthy is presently working as a state secretary of the Swaraj India party, Karnataka. He is known in society for fighting for the oppressed causes and writing in different media spaces on various issues consistently from the past two decades. He has been doing activism consistently including the struggle against BMIC Corridor publicly and not an absconding person as claimed by the police.
From 90’s he has provided jobs to many as an entrepreneur and is presently a journalist, writer, and activist in Karnataka. For more than a decade he has been a co-worker of Gauri Lankesh and is presently part of Gauri Lankesh Media Trust after Gauri’s assassination by right-wing elements aligned with ruling BJP’s ideology.
What raises suspicion in the public eye is the dramatic manner in which these arrests were made. The official narrative lacks consistency and is solely based on individual witness working in the police department. So far, the cases pertaining to his arrest have been officially closed by the respective courts and in one particular case, the petitioner himself had clearly backtracked that the alleged meeting did not take place due to which the case collapsed.
People fighting for equal and justifiable society, writers, activists, journalists led by Freedom fighter HS Doreswamy, Chukki Nanjundswamy, Indudhar Honnapur, N Venkatesh, Dinesh Amin Mattu, Dr Vijayamma, BT Lalitha Naik, S Raghunandan, G.Rajshekar, Dr Siddanagouda Patil, Nagaragere Ramesh etc have condemned the arrests and demanded the release of D N Murthy immediately in a signed Press release.
They have questioned the intention of police whether the arrest is a sign of silencing of dissent. People who are critical of government policies that are against the interests of the common people.
Welfare Party of India has condemned the arrest and demanded his immediate release stating it’s shameful on the part of police to say that a person who was leading several people’s struggle in public life is being accused to be absconding for 25 years.
Making of a Police state
With BJP back to power in Karnataka, the state police is showing signs of Gujaratification. BJP has managed to make a Police state first in Gujarat where it has ruled for almost 25 years, followed by Yogi raj in U.P. People are arrested with vague statements from police and with little to no evidence. This goes against the principles of democracy enshrined in the constitution of India.
Sanjeev Bhatt, IPS police officer, Gujrat cadre was recently arrested in a case from 1995. He was a vocal critic of PM Modi. UP has attained the status of Gundaraj under Yogi Adityanath where police is given a free hand to act with impunity. Last couple of months many cases have come where journalists where arrested on flimsy charges for just doing their job. Not to forget how Yogi shielded two BJP MPs in the much-publicised rape cases against them. One of the rape victims is in hospital after an attempt to her life was made. Most of her family was either killed or died trying to get justice. The second victim is framed in an extortion case and is in judicial custody.
Two months ago Bangalore police had arrested Karnataka Ranadheera Pade (Kannada organization) founder B. Harish Kumar on flimsy grounds of disturbing communal harmony when ruling party ministers have been giving derogatory and communal speeches openly in public spaces with no action taken against them. Last week, Vijayapura police have filed charges against protesters who organised “Justice for Danamma” urging justice for the Rape Victim.
It only remains to be seen if Karnataka too with the rest of the nonperforming BJP states will follow the ready-made path of Gujarat, UP and Jharkhand in creating a police state or fights back to protect its democratic space. Incidences like these help neither Karnataka nor India when the democratic spaces are stifled using Police and state machinery.
When overall governance and economy starts to fail only democratic thoughts and democratic action of the people concerned can overcome that crisis. The system of repression and violence is the solution often imposed by bigots and hope Karnataka will not follow that bigotry and reclaim its losing democratic spaces.