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Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik compares Gauri Lankesh to a dog, triggers row

SNS | New Delhi |

Pramod Muthalik, the chief of right-wing outfit Sri Ram Sene, triggered a massive controversy on Sunday after he likened the slain Bengaluru journalist, Gauri Lankesh, to a dog.

Hitting out at the critics who questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on Lankesh, who was murdered last September, he said, “Many wanted PM Modi to react after Gauri Lankesh’s death. Why should Modi react if some dog dies in Karnataka?”

Muthalik made the comment during an interaction with the public in Bengaluru on Sunday.

“Everyone is saying that Hindu groups conspired to kill Gauri Lankesh, but two murders in Maharashtra and two in Karnataka took place during Congress’ rule,” he said, referring to the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Left leader Govind Pansare, Kannada writer M M Kalburagi and Lankesh.

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“No one questioned the Congress government’s failure… instead these Left-leaning intellectuals ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak on Gauri Lankesh’s death,” he said.

“Do you expect Modi to respond every time a dog dies in Karnataka?” he asked.

The comments did not go down well with the Congress with party spokesperson Manish Tewari terming the remarks as disgusting. He asked if PM Modi was going to condone these remarks.

“Disgusting, nauseating, revolting… vigilante group Sri Ram Sene’s Head Pramod Muthalik compares assassinated journalist Gauri Lankesh to a dog.”

“Mr Prime Minister @narendramodi you did not condemn Gauri Lankesh’s murder are you now going to condone this too,” Tiwari said on Twitter.

Clarifying that he did not mean to compare Lankesh to a dog, Muthalik on Monday said he only wanted to know if the prime minister should react to each and every death (in the state).

The Sri Ram Sene came under the police scanner after the Special Investigation Team probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case recently summoned Rakesh Math, the Vijayapura district president of the fringe right-wing outfit, for questioning.

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Distancing himself and his organisation from Parashuram Waghmare, the prime accused in the Lankesh murder, Muthalik said, “There is no connection between Sri Ram Sene and Waghmare. He is not a member of the organisation.”

Gauri Lankesh, a Left-leaning journalist and a strong Hindutva critic, was shot dead from a close range by motorbike-borne assailants in front of her house on September 5 last year.

(With agency inputs)