Who is Srikanth Poojary, K'taka activist arrested in 1992 post-Babri riots case? | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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Who is Srikanth Poojary, Karnataka activist arrested in 1992 post-Babri riots case?

Jan 03, 2024 04:02 PM IST

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah defends the arrest, says a criminal is a criminal regardless of when the crime was committed.

A major political storm has hit Karnataka after Hindu activist Srikanth Poojary from Hubballi was arrested in a 31-year-old case for allegedly being involved in riots that happened during the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi protests in 1992. Karnataka BJP called for a state-wide protest on Wednesday and said that the Congress government is an ‘ISI government’ that is working for anti-Hindu forces.

Hindu activist Srikanth Poojary arrested in Karnataka: What we know so far?
Hindu activist Srikanth Poojary arrested in Karnataka: What we know so far?

Also Read - Karnataka BJP leaders stage protest over Hubbali arrest, slam Congress government

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What did the Congress say?

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that a criminal is a criminal irrespective of the time one has committed a crime. “He was arrested in a regular process of opening old cases. He was not targeted alone, and he was arrested because he committed a crime. The BJP leaders do not know anything about law and want to politicise everything in a peaceful state like Karnataka.”

Karnataka's home minister, G Parameshwara, also said the party doesn't target individuals. “If only one person is arrested in an old case, we accept the allegations. But I ordered to dispose of all pending cases in the state by investigating them. Srikanth was arrested in that process along with many people with a criminal history. The law will take its own course and has nothing to do with a particular religion,” he added.

What did the BJP say?

The BJP is conducting massive protests across the state and demanding the release of Srikanth Poojary. Karnataka BJP chief Vijayendra Yediyurappa said, “When the dust is settling across the country, Congress doesn’t want peace and it is trying to create communal tensions with baseless arrests. What is the need to arrest a Hindu activist in a case that was filed 31 years ago? The people of the state are questioning the intentions of the ruling Congress party.”

Union minister Pralhad Joshi, too, questioned the timing of the arrest. “If you observe the timing of the arrest, Congress decided to do it right before the grand Ayodhya temple opening. The Congress party could not digest that the BJP is creating history by opening the temple of lord Ram at Ayodhya and trying to create tensions in the country,” he said.

Who is Srikanth Poojary?

Srikanth Pojari, 51, is a Hindu activist from Karnataka’s Channapet in Hubballi district and part of many fringe groups. He is accused of being involved in riots at Hubballi in 1992, right after the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya and allegedly set a few shops on fire at Hubballi.

According to Hubballi police, Poojary has been booked under 16 cases in the last 31 years. A total of three cases were booked on him for allegedly causing riots and causing hurt. Apart from 1991, he was also reportedly charged with rioting in 1999, 2001 and 2014.

Apart from these, Poojary also has multiple cases against him in connection with gambling and illegal liquor. Hubballi police also allege that Poojary has never appeared before the court. The local media reports say that Poojary has been working as an autorickshaw driver for the past few years.

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