Karnataka minister and BJP MLA Munirathna booked for hate speech against Christians

Munirathna indulged in hate speech made against the Christian community during a recent television interview in Bengaluru.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Apr 06, 2023 | 8:52 PM Updated Dec 27, 2023 | 8:42 PM

Munirathna slapped with police case on hate speech

In a setback for the ruling BJP in poll-bound Karnataka, Horticulture Minister Munirathna was booked by the city police for an alleged hate speech against Christians at his constituency Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru.

The case was registered by the Rajarajeshwari Nagar police based on a complaint filed against Munirathna by gazetted officer Manoj Kumar, a part of the flying squad of the State Election Commission.

Kumar, who collected video recordings of the alleged hate speech, filed the complaint following the minister’s remarks during a recent television interview.

Related: Activists, civil society demand action over hate speeches in Karnataka

The hate speech allegation

In an interview with a private television news channel on 31 March, Munirathna purportedly said, “Christians are converting people even at this moment. The conversions are the maximum in slums.”

The Cabinet minister in the Basavaraj Bommai government also reportedly said: “In places where there are 1,400 people, 400 have been converted. If they (Christians) come (to convert someone), kick them out or lodge a complaint at the police station.”

The complainant stated that the speech caused disruption in communal harmony and brought dishonour to Christians.

The Rajarajeshwarinagar police booked the BJP MLA from the RR Nagar constituency under Section 117 (abetting the commission of an offence) and 153A (promoting enmity between various groups or religion) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as under Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes) of the People’s Representation Act.

Also read: Police book Pragya Thakur for hate speech after delay

Previous complaint

Karnataka Congress workers a week ago filed a complaint against Munirathna for inciting hatred between Kannadigas and Tamilians in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency.

The Congress candidate for the constituency, Kusuma Hanumantharayappa, wife of late IAS officer DK Ravi, filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Police Pratap Reddy accusing the BJP minister of hate speech.

This came after a video of Munirathna apparently showed him asking residents of RR Nagar to attack anyone apart from him who set foot in the constituency asking for votes.

The minister was also seen assuring the people that he would protect them at any cost.

Also read: BJP MLA Raja Singh booked for hate speech in Hyderabad