63 communal clashes in 3 years, zero convictions in Karnataka: Govt data

A majority of the cases (12) over the last three years have been reported from the Shivamogga division
Last Updated 22 February 2022, 21:52 IST

Karnataka has witnessed 63 instances of communal violence since 2019 with no conviction yet in a single case, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra told the Legislative Assembly in a written reply.

This was a reply to a question by Chittapur Congress MLA Priyank Kharge.

The government data shows that a majority of these cases are under inquiry or pending adjudication before a court of law. No one has been convicted or punished in these incidents so far.

This revelation comes at a time when the BJP government is being assertive that those responsible for the death of Bajrang Dal worker Harsha in Shivamogga will be punished. According to the data, there were 12 such incidents in 2019, 21 in 2020 and 23 incidents in 2021.

Seven such cases have been reported in the last two months of this year. A majority of the cases (12) over the last three years have been reported from the Shivamogga division, the government said.

Legal challenges

Speaking to DH, advocate B T Venkatesh pointed out the legal challenges in these cases. Most often, political leaders’ interference throws the prosecution off the track, he said.

“Conviction will not happen without evidence. Many times, the witnesses turn hostile to prosecution and will not come to testify. There is also the influence of politicians in this. Whether it is right-wing or left-wing, if they have influence, they are able to ensure that the witnesses don’t testify. This has been happening for ages,” Venkatesh observed.

He said more accountability is needed on part of the government-empanelled advocates arguing these cases, too, Mangalore’s Congress MLA UT Khader said.

“There is a lack of commitment among these advocates. Cases get piled up eventually. The government should tweak rules and hire them on a case-to-case basis instead of a fixed salary,” he said while pointing out that victims from vulnerable backgrounds fail to get justice due to inordinate delays.

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(Published 22 February 2022, 17:31 IST)

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