BJP MLA’s remarks on Gauri Lankesh’s murder trigger a row

The controversial statements by the BJP MLA, D.N. Jeevaraj, on Gauri Lankesh’s murder, while addressing party workers at Koppa elicited a strong response from various quarters on Thursday.

He had said at the meeting, “Since the Congress government came to power, 11 leaders of the BJP and Hindu groups were murdered in the State. Had Gauri Lankesh condemned the killings and criticised the Siddaramaiah government, don’t you think she would have been alive today?” Further, he remarked had she had not termed the killings “massacre of RSS people”, she would not have been killed.

In response, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday asked if the statements point fingers at those behind the killing. “What do you make out of his statement? Does it indicate who is behind this murder?” Mr. Siddaramaiah wondered while responding to queries by presspersons in Bengaluru.

The slain journalist’s sister and film-maker Kavitha Lankesh, who said she had not heard the MLA speak, condemned any such remarks from any quarter. “Anyone making such statements is a coward,” she said, in response to a query by presspersons.

When contacted by The Hindu on Thursday, Mr. Jeevaraj said his statements were being “misinterpreted” by the media. “I said if Gauri Lankesh had criticised the killings and if Siddaramaiah had put all those involved in the crime behind bars, nobody would have dared to kill her today. I just wanted to express that the failure of the government with regard to previous murders. Besides that, I have expressed condolences for her murder,” he said.

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