A Hindutva activist in Karnataka’s Mangaluru city was arrested on Sunday for threatening Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai if he allowed the demolition of a temple in Mysuru, The Print reported.

Dharmendra Surathkal, who was reportedly was associated with the Hindu Mahasabha, said at a press briefing that even “Mahatma Gandhi was not spared in a bid to protect Hindus”, according to the website.

He added: “If Gandhi ji could be assassinated to condemn atrocities on Hindus, do you think we won’t consider the same for you? Please remember it will become very difficult for you Basavaraj Bommai, BS Yediyurappa and Endowments minister Shashikala Jolle.”

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 by Nathuram Godse, who had been working in the Hindu Mahasabha.

Surathkal’s threat comes as a political row has erupted in Karnataka over the demolition of the Nanjangud temple in Mysuru. The Karnataka government is adhering to an order from the Supreme Court to remove illegal structures that have been constructed after September 29, 2009.

The police arrested Surathkal and two of his associates after the Hindutva organisation’s state President LK Suvarna filed a complaint against them, according to The Indian Express. Surathkal’s associates were reportedly present at the press briefing.

The Hindu Mahasabha alleged that the three men misused the organisation’s name, The Print reported. Suvarna claimed that Surathkal had been suspended from the organisation in 2020.

Mangaluru Commissioner of Police N Shashi Kumar told the website that the role of Surathkal’s associates in the matter was being looked into. “Dharmendra has been arrested since he is recorded issuing the threat,” he added.

The accused persons have been charged under sections 153(A) (promoting enmity), 505 (2) (public mischief), 506 (criminal intimidation), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 465 (forgery) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code, according to The Indian Express.