Facing growing criticism and fearing a political backlash, the Karnataka government on Saturday withdrew a circular sent to top police officials about withdrawing cases against members of minority community involved in communal clashes and issued a fresh one, according to several media reports.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, the home department sources told the newspaper the words "minority community" were dropped in the fresh circular.
ANI reported that a revised circular had been issued, tweeting:
Karnataka government replaced the word 'minorities' with 'all innocent' in its revised circular to take back cases filed in last five years against those who were involved in communal clashes.
— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2018
Karnataka home minister Ramalinga Reddy told ANI: "There was some error in the notice, which has been rectified. In the last three years, we have withdrawn around 400 cases that involve more than 2,800 Hindus and 301 Muslims. We are not biased."
Reddy told Deccan Herald: "The words, 'all innocent minorities', were added by oversight. It should have been innocent people.''
Reddy said the order to drop cases against minorities was issued based on the Justice Rajinder Sachar committee report on social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India, Deccan Herald reported.
News18 reported that the government was under pressure after the BJP alleged the move aimed at helping Muslims facing rioting cases, a charge the Congress dismissed as false propaganda. Senior BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the state’s Upper House KS Eshwarappa called it Congress government's "double game communal politics", reported News18.
Siddaramaiah hit back, saying his government was also trying to withdraw cases against farmers and Kannada activists. "We are withdrawing cases against all innocent people, not just innocent Muslims. We are also withdrawing cases against farmers and Kannada activists," The Indian Express quoted him as saying.
According to News18, the circular was sent by Inspector General Police (IGP) Shivaprakash at the state police headquarters to 22 Superintendents of Police (SPs) and a few police commissioners. The Hindu reported that the circular was first sent to the police heads on 2 January, 2018, followed by a reminder on 25 January.
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Updated Date: Jan 28, 2018 17:12:50 IST