SIT Arrests Hindutva Worker Who Sent Death Threats to Writers in Karnataka | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SIT Arrests Hindutva Worker Who Sent Death Threats to Writers in Karnataka

Oct 01, 2023 11:01 PM IST

The arrested man has been identified as Shivaji Rao Jadhav, a 41-year-old resident of Davanagere and the co-convenor of a Hindutva organisation in the district. He is a Class 8 dropout, police said

Bengaluru

During police custody, the accused confessed to writing all the threat letters to the writers, asserting that he considered them “anti-Hindu”. (HT Archives)
During police custody, the accused confessed to writing all the threat letters to the writers, asserting that he considered them “anti-Hindu”. (HT Archives)

A Special Investigation Team of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) , which was formed to probe death threats to writers and intellectuals in Karnataka, has arrested a man for allegedly sending threatening letters to multiple writers in the state since April 2022, police officials said.

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The arrested man has been identified as Shivaji Rao Jadhav, a 41-year-old resident of Davanagere and the co-convenor of a Hindutva organisation in the district. He is a Class 8 dropout, police said.

“All the letters had the handwriting of one person. They were posted from different post offices in different districts of the state to avoid detection by the police,” the police said in a statement. “Apart from the seven cases that were registered, the arrest of the accused has prevented danger to the life of the writers. The accused has also issued threat letters to several others in the state. He has been taken into custody for 13 days to probe whether he was part of a conspiracy or acted alone,” it added.

Bengaluru City Police Commissioner B Dayananda said that due to the seriousness and complexity of the case, it was handed over to the SIT. “The investigators had limited clues in the case. But the investigation that started from the postal stamps on the letter saw extensive groundwork and questioning,” he said.

Several writers, including Kum. Veerabhadrappa, Banjagere Jayaprakash, Vasundhara Bhupati, BT Lalitha Nayak, and BL Venu, had been receiving threatening letters since April 2022, all bearing identical handwriting and signed as “Sahishnu Hindu”.

These letters contained threats against 61 writers who had signed an open letter to then-chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, demanding an end to the “relentless communal campaign” in the state in 2022.

The case initially fell under the jurisdiction of local police, who mistakenly detained a wrong person in May 2023, as proved by the continued receipt of threat letters even after the arrest.

Responding to the writers’ persistent demands for a fresh investigation, the case was transferred to CCB, Bengaluru, on August 24. Following a meeting with writers and based on government instructions on August 25, a special team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Naveen Kulkarni was formed to investigate the seven cases filed by the writers.

The special team initiated CCTV surveillance at numerous post boxes used for sending the threat letters across four districts, ultimately leading to the identification and arrest of the suspect.

During police custody, the accused confessed to writing all the threat letters to the writers, asserting that he considered them “anti-Hindu”. He claimed that most of these writers, who criticised “Hindu Dharma,” stopped their criticism following his letter campaign. Additionally, the accused admitted to sending threat letters to several other writers as early as 2008, including prominent figures like UR Ananthamurthy, Prof KS Bhagwan, and SG Siddaramaiah.

Commissioner Dayananda said the investigation is going on to determine whether the accused acted alone or if there were others involved in the threat letter campaign. “We are also probing whether there were any actual plans to carry out the threats and whether the accused had the capability to do so. The investigation is also underway on the accused’s affiliations with various organisations and individuals,” he said.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah said on social media that the government would take the case to its logical conclusion and bring to book any individual or organisation part of this plot. “Our government is committed to upholding the freedom of expression of everyone. We have zero tolerance towards any forces that try to silence pro-people voices,” he posted on social media on Saturday.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

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