Harsha murdered with intent of inciting communal violence: NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has taken over the investigation into the murder of Bajrang Dal activist Harsha in Shivamogga, Karnataka, has concluded that the killing was perpetrated to orchestrate communal unrest in the wake of the hijab row. 
NIA's preliminary investigation concludes that 26-year-old Bajrang Dal activist Harsha was murdered to incite communal violence. (PTI File)(HT_PRINT)
NIA's preliminary investigation concludes that 26-year-old Bajrang Dal activist Harsha was murdered to incite communal violence. (PTI File)(HT_PRINT)
Updated on Apr 03, 2022 11:45 AM IST
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In a latest development in the murder of Bajrang Dal activist Harsha, the NIA stated that there was evidence that he was murdered with the “intent of inciting communal violence”. Harsha’s murder was handed over the to the NIA on Saturday. The Hindutva activist was found murdered on February 20. 

According to sources, preliminary investigations by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), have revealed that the crime was committed to orchestrating communal violence against the backdrop of the hijab controversy.

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra confirmed the transfer of the Harsha murder case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday. Following an extensive investigation by Karnataka police, the state government decided to refer the case to the NIA. "We discovered during our investigation that Harsha was murdered with the intent of inciting communal violence. We also looked into the accused's background. As a result, we felt it was necessary to refer the case to the NIA," he told reporters.

On Saturday, NIA sleuths visited Shivamogga and took all documents and materials related to the Harsha murder case from the local police. They discovered that Harsha was murdered as part of a conspiracy and plan to incite communal violence. The agency mentioned this aspect in its FIR. 

The FIR states, “And whereas, the motive of accused persons in the case appears to be striking terror in the society and create communal disharmony by using a lethal weapon; and whereas the Central Government thinks that a Scheduled Offence under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, has been committed and, having regard to the gravity of the offense and its ramifications on national security, it is required to be investigated by the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008: 

“Now, therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred under sub-section (5) of section 6 read with section 8 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, the Central Government hereby directs the National Investigation Agency to take up investigation of the aforesaid case.”

C.T. Ravi, the BJP's National General Secretary, and a BJP MLA, previously stated that it was clear from the start that Harsha's murder was not carried out for personal gain. “I don't think it's a personal decision motivated by animosity. It could be the work of a well-organized racket. Today it was Harsha, tomorrow it will be someone else. Who funded them, who conspired with them, who provoked them, and who supported them in court must all be investigated. The goal of referring the case to the NIA is to put an end to the murders of Hindu activists. Allow the investigation to begin, and we will determine whether the perpetrators are in the state or elsewhere”

Shivamogga SP Lakshmi Prasad stated that the district police had submitted all documents to the NIA and were cooperating with them. A day after Harsha's death, Union Minister Shobha Karindlaje wrote to Bommai, raising concerns about the Popular Front of India's (PFI) role and demanding an NIA investigation. Several Union Ministers had also urged the Centre to probe the matter.

Harsha, a Hindutva activist, was assassinated by a Muslim gang in Shivamogga on February 20, igniting rioting in the area. As a result, the district was placed under an eight-day curfew. So far, ten persons have been arrested and charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the case. Harsha's case, according to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, is more than a murder. The state government awarded the family 25 lakh in compensation.


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