Praveen Nettaru’s Death And The Flaws In BJP’s Handling Of Affairs

by Harsha Bhat - Jul 30, 2022 05:32 PM +05:30 IST
Praveen Nettaru’s Death And The Flaws In BJP’s Handling Of AffairsLate BJYM leader Praveen Nettaru
  • Praveen Nettaru, who was murdered last week, was a BJYM office bearer.

    While all the past murders of the BJP karyakartas brought outrage to the fore, this one brought the systemic flaws within the Hindu political landscape to the front.

Praveen Nettaru was barbarically killed earlier this week. He joined the list of the Paresh Mesta's, Harsha's and Sharat Madivala's of Karnataka, who died for being vocally Hindu.

But what made the reaction scale up and backfire for the self-proclaimed pro-Hindu party currently in power in the state is that he was an office bearer of the party.

This was a BJYM office bearer. Hence mass resignations began to follow with the news of his death, which a senior leader of the party termed as being 'immature'. When it was anything but that. While all the past murders brought outrage to the fore, this one brought the systemic flaws within the Hindu political landscape to the front.

One, the anger this time, is not from the opposition. That half is having a royal time roasting the BJP for its inability to both govern the public as well as face its own ground workers. The real anger is from within, and this, benign as it may be seen owing to the lack of alternative, has the potential to damage not just the party's prospects in the state, but also the larger cause.

Second, the response. The least you could do to keep the damage minimal is to be proactive, responsive and sensitive. The state president's car, which also had the district in-charge Minister seated, was almost toppled by their own party workers. Nettaru was a staunch follower of the said leader, mind you, as depicted in his Facebook posts.

What stopped them from alighting from the car and facing the workers? They, for sure, would not have physically assaulted their own party president or their Power Minister. The cops were there too. Unless in the wilderness, or even there may be, its not always about fight or flight, it could also be facing. Standing with the task-force is all that was needed and that would have done all the crisis management needed at the hour.

Like say, one of the leaders who was protesting with the karyakartas later did, when the police resorted to lathi-charge. Hubli Ramesh, as he is called, for having been part of the trio who hoisted the flag at the Eidgah maidan in Hubballi, dared the police to charge him before they could touch 'his karyakartas'. That now is leadership.

That you are willing to take the baton and brickbats for those who give you their blood. The behaviour of the cops, of course, calls for a separate piece, but it was shocking to watch workers be thrashed by police headed by a government that wished to come to power for being Pro-Hindu. Suspending two PSI once again, like many other moves of the government, is just tokenism.

The karyakarta won't shift loyalties because he, unlike the leaders, isn't driven by power or position but by principles, which is why they have resigned - yet another PR disaster for populist, outrage-spewing leaders who were paratroopers into positions of power.

But the message you have sent them through your lack of responsibility and accountability, will cost you their shoulders. Shoulders that have carried the bodies of way too many karyakartas will now think twice before carrying you on your victory march or sweat it out for your elections.

ABVP karyakartas who were protesting outside Home Minister Araga Jnanendra's house have been arrested today (30 July). As per news reports, cases have been filed against 30 of these workers under IPC Section 448 (house-tresspass), 143(unlawful assembly), and 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object).

The saffron government has the saffron ground workers arrested for demanding justice for the death of a worker of the saffron cause. So the government wants to deprive the dissenting voice within from expressing dissatisfaction while having ridden to power on the back of this very discontent sentiment.

All that has come from the state in all this chaos is that investigation has been handed over to the NIA. Soon followed by a night curfew in the district and flag march pasts across the towns. The psyche of the citizen is one that is going to be laced with fear. And that is not the intended objective of a law and order mechanism.

What was the urgency of handing it over to the NIA? Does it not diminish the faith you have in your own law and order system? The Chief Minister says the NIA has been involved since it is part of 'an organised crime' and involves 'another state'.

Also, Nettaru is said to have apprised the police about being followed around - he sensed danger. But sadly, they didn't.

The part of Kerala which is being called 'another state' is, for all practical purposes, an extension of Karnataka as that region's domicile and dwelling may be KL-14, but their life and living (from education to medical facilities) is all KA -19 (Dakshina Kannada).

The border is porous and one stroll around the market in Sullia (where the murder took place) is enough proof of the drastic demographic shift that has been taking place over the last decade or so.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 'Police' and 'Public Order' are state subjects under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, and therefore, it is the primary duty of the state governments to prevent, detect, register and investigate crime and prosecute the criminals. Maybe it is time, the state government can remind itself of its 'primary duties'.

Also Read: Why BJP Is Angry With BJP In Karnataka

Harsha is an Associate Editor at Swarajya. She tweets @bhatinmaai.
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