The Congress and the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party members were locked in a verbal duel in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday over the law and order situation in the State, as the latter raised the issue of alleged murders of its members and those belonging to Hindu outfits.
While BJP members claimed that 26 people belonging to the BJP and outfits of Hindu organisations such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad were killed, the Congress members said there was no truth in these claims.
Initiating the debate on the law and order situation in the State during the Congress regime, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar alleged that activists of Popular Front of India (PFI) killed 26 BJP workers during the last few years and demanded that the State government recommend banning PFI. He also accused the Congress of pursuing vote bank politics by withdrawing cases registered against minorities.
He said that the government had been “indifferent to political murders” even when Congress workers were killed. Citing NCRB data, he said that the government had failed to maintain law and order in the State.
“It has been two years since M.M. Kalburgi was killed and the killers are yet to be arrested,” he said.
Intervening in the debate, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that the BJP members “were propagating false propaganda” and only nine BJP/RSS workers were killed in communal clash. Though rest of the people belonged to the Hindu community, their deaths occurred owing to personal enmity and other property related issues, he said.
Taking objection to the statement, former Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R. Ashok questioned the basis for certifying the deaths of BJP/RSS workers. He also said that when the Kerala government has recommended banning PFI, what prevented the State government from doing so.
The House witnessed ruckus when Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil, Food and Civil Supplies Minister U.T. Khader, Minister K.J. George and Mr. Reddy countered charges of BJP members on the killings.
Later, responding to the charges, Mr. Reddy said there is no truth in the accusation and law and order situation in the State was good. Providing statistics of various crimes registered since 2013, and comparing them with figures between 2008 and 2012 when the BJP was in power, he said that except in the number of rape cases, all other crimes reported during Congress rule have been less. “Even the number of rape cases increased as the POCSO Act came into force.”
On the circular that allowed withdrawing of cases against minorities, he said it was a technical error and that the circular has been modified already to allow people from any faith to seek relief. Mr. Reddy, however, did not respond to the demand of banning PFI. They trooped into the well of the House and raised slogans.