TN police book Shobha Karandlaje for 'promoting enmity,' BJP leader apologises

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Shobha Karandlaje

Shobha Karandlaje (File image)

Madurai/Bengaluru: The Madurai Police on Wednesday booked BJP leader and Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje for "promoting enmity" between different groups, following her claims that people from Tamil Nadu plant bombs in Karnataka, remarks which had drawn criticism from Chief Minister M K Stalin.

The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu approached the Election Commission against Karandlaje, accusing her of violating the Model Code of Conduct and the Representation of People Act.

The BJP leader apologised for remarks and announced retracting them.

"To my Tamil brothers & sisters, I wish to clarify that my words were meant to shine light, not cast shadows. Yet I see that my remarks brought pain to some - and for that, I apologize. My remarks were solely directed towards those trained in the Krishnagiri forest, linked to the Rameshwaram Cafe blast. To anyone from Tamil Nadu effected (sic), from the depths of my heart, I ask your forgiveness. Furthermore, I retract my previous comments," she said in a post on 'X' late on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, she had said in Bengaluru that "law and order in Karnataka has deteriorated. People who come from Tamil Nadu plant bombs here, people from Delhi chant 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans and people who come from Kerala were involved in acid attacks." Meanwhile, the Cyber Crime wing of Madurai Police booked the senior BJP leader under various sections of the IPC, including section 153 (a), which pertains to "promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony." The FIR was lodged against her based on a complaint, police said.

Meanwhile, in its complaint with the EC, filed by DMK Organisation Secretary RS Bharathi, the party said while the NIA, probing the Rameshwaram Cafe blast in Bengaluru "has so far not been able to identify the culprit," Karandlaje had "made the basesless accusation that the bomb was planted by people from Tamil Nadu." "The statement attempts to promote feelings of enmity and hatred between the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu... it generalises the people of Tamil Nadu as extremists and seeks to create hostility and enmity between the two communities, viz the Tamilians (Sic) and the Kannadigas," it alleged.

The party urged the EC to act against the Union Minister for 'violating' both the MCC and relevant sections of the Representation of People Act.