A Kannada writer and newspaper columnist, who following a spat with an anti-superstition activist on Facebook allegedly stated that she must be “raped by rapists”, has been arrested for his controversial comments even as he hurriedly deleted the post.
V R Bhat, a right-wing writer, had posted the rape threat on the Facebook wall of Prabha N Belavangala after the activist questioned the rationale behind governments conducting religious ceremonies for launching projects.
Angered by her post, Bhat had allegedly commented that women like Belavangala must be “dragged by their hair and sexually assaulted to correct their approach to issues”.
Bhat, who was linked to the RSS by a section of the media, but disowned by the saffron outfit in an official statement, was booked by the Chandra Layout police in Bangalore last week for breach of peace and criminal intimidation, and posting offensive messages.
Though Bhat deleted his offensive post and offered apologies on the Facebook wall of Belavangala, the activist had already taken a screen shot of the offensive post and filed a complaint with the police on July 28.
Bhat, a columnist with the Kannada Prabha newspaper, was arrested on Saturday and the police have said that they would also book him under the Karnataka Goonda Act, which denies bail for a year and is currently being applied to sexual offenders and cyber offenders.
The controversy broke out last Sunday after Belavangala, who is the state secretary of the Bharatiya Jnana Vijanana Samiti, posted pictures of political leaders, including PM Narendra Modi, Karnataka CM Siddaramiah, and former Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa, participating in religious ceremonies for the launch of state projects.
On her Facebook wall, Belavangala criticised public figures in general for endorsing ritualistic ceremonies. “Such practices were not only unscientific but also discredited the hard work of those individuals who actually contributed to the projects.”
In a response to the post, Bhat questioned the activist’s knowledge of the “sanathana dharma” and alleged that she was misinforming her followers. Bhat allegedly said women like Belavangala must be “raped by rapists”. The comment by Bhat created an online furore and had evoked strong condemnation.