People from Tamil Nadu planted bomb in cafe, claims BJP leader; apologises and retracts after backlash

Karandlaje's remarks sparked outrage on social media, with netizens condemning her for “hate-mongering” and baselessly implicating Tamil Nadu and its people.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Mar 19, 2024 | 9:47 PMUpdatedMar 20, 2024 | 10:46 AM

Shobha Karandlaje. (ShobhaBJP/Twitter)

In a stinging attack on Karnataka’s neighbouring state, BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje alleged that “people from Tamil Nadu planted bomb in Bengaluru cafe”. Her statement came on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Tamil Nadu addressing election rallies.

Following massive backlash, Karandlaje retracted her statement and apologised later.

On Tuesday, 19 March, BJP leader and Union Minister of State (MoS) Shobha Karandlaje ignited a fresh controversy by claiming people who planted bombs at a cafe were trained in Tamil Nadu. She was referring to the 1 March Rameshwaram Cafe bomb blast that shook Bengaluru leaving ten people injured.

It may be noted that NIA – the primary investigating agency in the case – has made no such claims so far. Shobha Karandlaje’s statement comes in the midst of Model Code of Conduct for Lok Sabha elections 2024. Her ‘unsubstantiated’ accusation against Tamil Nadu has left the state’s Chief Minister, MK Stalin, fuming.

Karandlaje was addressing reporters in Nagarathpete, Central Bengaluru, where she was protesting against the ruling Congress government over the assault on a shopkeeper for allegedly playing bhajans.

Related:CCTV captures assault on shopkeeper in Bengaluru

“Trained in Tamil Nadu” 

Despite the tireless efforts of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and the Bengaluru Central Crime Branch (CCB) to identify and apprehend the culprits, the perpetrators remain at large. While investigators briefly detained a 47-year-old electrician, Syed Shabbir Ahmed, from Ballari, who reportedly had connections with the main suspect, he was later released. The prime suspect, according to police sources, has eluded capture, with his trail leading investigators as far as Hyderabad.

Criticising the Congress government in Karnataka, Union Minister Karandlaje exclaimed, “At Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, people shouted ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and no case was registered for about a week. Then, people come from Tamil Nadu. They get trained there and place bombs here. They planted bomb in the cafe. After that, another person comes from Kerala and hurls acid at three of our women students.”

Shobha Karandlaje is also BJP’s candidate for Lok Sabha elections 2024 from Bangalore North constituency.

“Congress is doing nothing about it. Now, whoever recites or even plays the Hanuman Chalisa is being beaten up. This Congress is only doing vote bank politics,” Karandlaje charged at Siddaramaiah-led Congress government.

Karandlaje’s remarks sparked outrage on social media platforms, with netizens condemning her for “hate-mongering” and baselessly implicating Tamil Nadu in the bomb blast case when neither the NIA nor CCB have any evidence regarding the origins of the perpetrators.

Also Read: Bickering in BJP sparks protest against Shobha Karandlaje’s candidature in Udupi-Chikmagalur

CM Stalin reacts

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin vehemently denounced Shobha Karandlaje’s statement as reckless. He urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to take decisive action against her for hate speech.

In his post on X, MK Stalin stated, “Strongly condemn Union BJP Minister @ShobhaBJP’s reckless statement. One must either be an NIA official or closely linked to the #RameshwaramCafeBlast to make such claims. Clearly, she lacks the authority for such assertions. Tamilians and Kannadigas alike will reject this divisive rhetoric of BJP. I also urge for an appropriate legal action against Shobha for causing threat to peace, harmony and national unity. From the Prime Minister to cadre, everyone in the BJP should stop engaging in this dirty divisive politics at once. ECI must take note of this hate speech and initiate stringent action immediately.”