Sea of solidarity as thousands march against Prajwal Revanna in Hassan; demand justice for victims

Protestors demanded that the SIT conduct an impartial investigation without political influence under the supervision of a high court judge.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 30, 2024 | 4:26 PMUpdatedMay 31, 2024 | 3:24 AM

Protest march in Hassan against Prajwal Revanna. (Supplied)

A sea of humanity took part in a massive protest march and an open meeting organised in Hassan on Thursday, 30 May. Farmers, students, social workers, Dalit rights activists, gender equality activists, labour rights groups and several civil society groups came together to demand a fair probe into the alleged sexual abuse by now suspended JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna and his immediate arrest.

The march under the banner ‘Namma Nadige, Hassanada Kadega‘ (Our march towards Hassan) was joined by different organisations and civil society groups from across the state, including women, labourers, farmers, Dalits, and sexual minorities.

A total of 143 organisations participated in the huge protest against Prajwal and others in his family accused of sexual abuse.

The organisers mobilised funds amounting to ₹35 lakh from common people, farmers and women to organise the protest. Not even a single rupee was collected from any politicians, organisers claimed.

Prajwal (33), the grandson of JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda and the NDA candidate from the Hassan Lok Sabha constituency is facing charges of sexually abusing women.

He reportedly left for Germany on 27 April, a day after Hassan went to polls, and is still at large. In a video he recently released to the media, Prajwal Revanna vowed to present himself before the SIT on 31 May.

Related: Bengaluru court rejects Prajwal Revanna’s anticipatory bail plea

The protest march of solidarity

The protest march began at the Hemavathi statue near Maharaja Park in Hassan and concluded by handing over a memorandum to Hassan Deputy Commissioner C Sathyabhama, following which a mega convention was held at Taluk office road, during which activists reiterated their demand.

Addressing the huge gathering, former MP and CPI Polit Buro member Subhashini Ali alleged a power play to abuse and scare women and deny justice to them.

“We and the citizens of the country have to break this alliance of patriarchy, feudalism, sexual abuse and political power. Our immediate demand is to jail Prajwal Revanna, his father and his family members involved in the act. No bail, only jail,” demanded Ali.

RTI and anti-corruption activist SR Hiremath said people must protest against the dynasty politics in Hassan.

“They have used their muscle and money power to harass and oppress the voices of common people and women. I’ll fight till my last breath with you people,” said Hiremath.

Related: JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna books flight from Munich to Bengaluru

Walk for justice, demand for arrest

The protesters demanded the immediate arrest of Prajwal, accused of sexual violence, and punishment according to law.

They said a Red Corner Notice should be issued against him and his bank accounts should be frozen.

“Union government must immediately cancel Prajwal’s diplomatic passport and visa. The state government and the SIT (Special Investigation Team) should be given the necessary assistance to arrest him in any country of the world with the help of Interpol,” the protestors said.

Bengaluru-based social activist Shobha demanded that Prajwal should be taken into custody as soon as possible.

“This is the time for the government to stand with the victims and assure them justice. We will stand with these women and fight for them and today thousands of us have joined here to show our support,” she told South First.

They demanded the arrest of every “criminal” who conspired to share the perverted sexual abuse videos and images to the public through pen drives, social media and other means and urged the administration to ensure the deletion of videos on social media platforms.

“To protect the privacy of the women who have been subjected to various forms of sexual abuse in this sex scandal and who are coming forward to file a case, the government should urgently provide psychiatric counselling, legal assistance, appropriate protection, rehabilitation and compensation,” the protestors said.

Social activist Gowramma, noting that victims were leaving their houses, told South First, “Victims are leaving their houses in shame, the government needs to create a safe environment for the victims for them to come forward and report their grievances to the SIT.”

They also demanded that former prime minister Deve Gowda immediately write a letter to the prime minister and demand that his grandson, Prajwal be brought to the country.

Also Read: MEA show-cause to Prajwal for revoking his diplomatic passport

Demands impartial probe

Protestors demanded that the SIT conduct an impartial investigation without political influence under the supervision and scrutiny of a high court judge.

“The Congress government in the state has to fulfil our demands. If they (Prajwal and family) are left outside they will use their wealth, power, and goons to abuse and scare the poor. So no bail only Jail for these perpetrators,” Ali said.

Taking a dig at the Modi government, she said: “The prime minister said the 10 years in power was just a trailer and when he wins he would show you the picture.”

“They showed us how they released the people who killed and raped a family of farmers and Bilkis Bano, they showed the trailer of how they left Brij Bhushan Singh after humiliating the female wrestlers, the trailer of delay in the verdict on Ram Rahim. In Hassan, they held Prajwal’s hand and asked for votes, that was the trailer they showed us.”

“We want to tell him that neither the trailer nor the film will work. We will show you on 4 June by taking revenge for our sisters,” said Ali.

She said that irrespective of the people in power they would fight to ensure justice for the victims.

They also sought the release of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report on the cases.

“A separate case should be filed against Prajwal for his illegal activities at the residence specially built for former prime minister Deve Gowda. Separate clauses under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act should be included in possible cases,” the protestors demanded.

“The chief minister, the deputy chief minister and the home minister should immediately visit Hassan and publicly console and encourage the women who have been sexually assaulted to take the legal route,” they added.

Related: No lapses on govt’s part in handling Prajwal sexual abuse cases: Karnataka HM

The cases against Prajwal and his family

Some explicit video clips allegedly involving Prajwal Revanna started making the rounds in Hassan ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The videos were circulated throughout the constituency allegedly by distributing thousands of pen drives.

Following that, the state government constituted an SIT to probe the alleged sexual assault incidents involving the MP.

Three cases registered against Prajwal — one at Holenarsipura Town Police Station, the second at the Bengaluru Cyber Crime Police Station and the third before the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) — were transferred to the SIT.

On Thursday, the Special Court for People’s Representatives in Bengaluru rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Prajwal moved by his advocate Arun.

Prajwal had released a video statement promising that he would appear before the SIT on 31 May. According to official sources, the Hassan MP has booked a return flight ticket to Bengaluru from Munich on 30 May and is expected to land in the city in the small hours of 31 May.

Two cases — kidnapping and sexual abuse — have been registered against Revanna, Prajwal’s father and son of Deve Gowda.

On 13 May, a Special Court for Elected Representatives granted bail to Revanna in a case where he is accused of having kidnapped one of the women allegedly sexually abused by Prajwal, as seen in the leaked videos.

Meanwhile, Prajwal’s mother Bhavani Revanna filed an anticipatory bail in the special court for elected representatives fearing arrest in the kidnap case linked to her husband.

The SIT filed objections to granting the anticipatory bail to her and also sought to cancel the interim anticipatory bail issued to HD Revanna in the same case.

Bhavani Revanna’s anticipatory bail order is reserved for 31 May.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)