Bomb remarks: TN police book Shobha Karandlaje, BJP leader apologises

Tamil Nadu's ruling DMK approached the ECI against Karandlaje, accusing her of violating the model code and Representation of People Act

BJP leader and Union minister Shobha Karandlaje (file photo)
BJP leader and Union minister Shobha Karandlaje (file photo)
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PTI

The Madurai Police on Wednesday booked BJP leader and Union minister Shobha Karandlaje on charges of "promoting enmity" between different groups, following her claims that people from Tamil Nadu "plant bombs in Karnataka", a remark which had drawn criticism from Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin.

Stalin's party, the ruling DMK, had approached the Election Commission of India (ECI) against Karandlaje, accusing her of violating the model code of conduct (MCC) in force ahead of the upcoming seven-phase Lok Sabha elections, and the Representation of People Act.

The BJP leader has since apologised for her remark on social media and announced a retraction.

"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 apologise. My remarks were directed solely towards those trained in the Krishnagiri forest, linked to the Rameshwaram Café 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.

Earlier on the same day, Karandlaje 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 (long live)' slogans, and people who come from Kerala were involved in acid attacks".

The cyber crime wing of Madurai Police booked the senior BJP leader under various sections of the IPC, including 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". An FIR was lodged against her based on a complaint, the police said.

Meanwhile, in its complaint with the ECI, filed by DMK organisation secretary R.S. Bharathi, the party said while the NIA (National Investigation Agency) probing the Rameshwaram Café 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 two communities, viz the Tamilians (sic) and the Kannadigas," it alleged.

The party urged the ECI to act against the Union minister for "violating" both the MCC and relevant sections of the Representation of People Act.

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