Cabinet decides to withdraw cases against PFI, KFD cadre

The State Cabinet on Monday gave the nod to withdraw 40 criminal cases registered against activists of Popular Front of India (PFI) and Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD) for “inciting” communal violence in Mysuru in 2009.

The move has caused controversy with some senior police officers, including those retired, remarking that it would have “far-reaching” consequences and “demoralise” the force. Two persons were killed in the communal violence of 2009 in Udayagiri police limits in Mysuru after the carcass of a piglet was found in a mosque.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the decision had been taken based on the recommendation of a Cabinet sub-committee. It had done a case-by-case study and felt that in most of the cases there was lack of evidence to press the charges. The chances of the charges being framed are “bleak”, according to him. But cases of murder have been left untouched, he added.

Interestingly, the Home Department had advised against withdrawal of cases. Jayachandra, however, stressed that since the offences were against the State, the State government was the “competent authority” to withdraw them.

The Cabinet also decided to withdraw 114 cases registered in 2010 in Shivamogga and 21 cases registered in Hassan in connection with riots following publication of a controversial article by Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen in a Kannada daily. As many as 135 cases were filed against 1,400 people in Shivamogga and Hassan for rioting as they went on a rampage after a Kannada daily published the translation of Nasreen’s controversial article on purdah.

Police ‘unhappy’

Some police officers expressed displeasure over the decision to withdraw cases against PFI and KFD activists. A host of senior officers, including those retired, described the decision as “unfortunate” and said it would have “far-reaching” consequences.

A retired officer who served in the State Intelligence Wing told Deccan Herald that the decision would “shake” the confidence of officers who investigated the cases.

The officer, who was not willing to be quoted, said that in the past, the Cabinet had withdrawn cases against farmers and their associations. But “blanket withdrawal” of cases against activists of the PFI and the KFD, who were known for their “communalism”, was not proper.

The State Intelligence Wing has enough evidence to establish that both the PFI and the KFD breed hard-core fundamentalists.

This decision will only help the actual perpetrators to go scot-free, he claimed.
According to him, not every officer-bearer and member of the two organisations is an extremist, but there are some who are “hard-core fundamentalists”. He said that it would have been ideal if the government had directed the police to prosecute only those involved and drop cases against the innocent. The blanket withdrawal of cases against every suspect is “just unfortunate”, he said.

Several serving officers expressed similar views but refused to be named.

The Cabinet also decided to withdraw cases registered against 50 Congress workers for staging a protest without permission at the Ring Road Junction near Columbia Asia Hospital in Narasimharaja police station limits in Mysuru in 2011, Jayachandra added.

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