The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka issued orders to drop prosecution in 385 cases from July 2019 to April 2023, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.
Out of these, 182 cases pertained to hate speech, cow vigilantism, and communal violence, according to a response by the state home department to a Right To Information application filed by the newspaper.
The withdrawal of prosecution entails the state home minister making a recommendation, which is cleared by a Cabinet sub-committee and approved by the state Cabinet.
Most of the 182 cases were filed during the Congress government’s tenure between 2013 and 2018, according to The Indian Express reported. The majority of the cases involved Hindutva activists, and a BJP MP and MLA were among the accused persons against whom prosecution was dropped.
Four instances of cow vigilantism in the Chikamagalur district and incidents of violence in Kodagu and Mysuru over Tipu Jayanti celebrations were among those for which the state government issued orders to drop prosecution.
The government also ordered the withdrawal of four cases against Hindu Jagaran Vedike leader Jagadish Karanth, who was accused of making statements that qualified as hate speeches in Dakshina Kannada, Bagalkot, Bengaluru Rural and Tumakuru.
State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said that the government ordered the dropping of prosecution not just against Hindutva activists, but also those involved in farmers’ protests and in agitation pertaining to linguistic identity. “These are mostly cases which have been languishing for up to 10 years or more in courts,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “… All requests for withdrawal come to me and I send the requests to the sub-committee.”