Karnataka HC Relief for Kannada Actor Chetan, Stays Order on Returning OCI Card

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BENGALURU – In a temporary relief to Kannada actor and anti-Hindutva activist Chetan Kumar Ahimsa, the Karnataka High Court on Monday stayed an earlier order of the Central government on the cancellation of his Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) status.

Chetan Kumar had challenged the order in the court. The bench headed by Justice M. Nagaprasanna has ordered that neither the state nor the central government should initiate any action against Chetan till June 2, 2023. The bench had also asked Chetan not to tweet anything about the judiciary. He was also directed not to issue any statement regarding pending cases.

The bench asked Chetan to remove all the tweets and submit an affidavit within four days. This direction is part of the final order and if any of the conditions are violated, the interim stay order will be vacated, the court told Chetan Kumar.

Senior counsel Aditya Sondhi who argued for Chetan submitted that the petitioner should have been given an opportunity to present himself before issuing the show cause notice. The Central government should establish how the tweets of Chetan amount to sedition? If the court does not grant a stay on this order, the petitioner faces the threat of being extradited from the country.

Once the OCI card is cancelled he will become an illegal immigrant. The petitioner’s interest should be protected by the court, the counsel stated.

Additional Advocate General Arun Shyam who appeared for the state government submitted in the court that the actor has the habit of tweeting against the judiciary also and hence he should not get interim protection.

The Union home ministry had cancelled the Overseas Citizenship of India status of Chetan Kumar and he was asked to surrender his OCI card within 15 days.

Condemning the move, the actor had stated that the notice has been issued to him as he can’t be defeated in his social oriented and rational work.

Chetan’s recent claim that the Tirupati temple had been built after demolishing a Buddha temple had stirred a controversy. In an interview he claimed that Hindu temples were never Vaidik institutions. He said that Hindu temples were built after destroying Buddhist temples.

Chetan in his social media post claimed that Hindutva is based on falsehood. He said the statement of BJP icon Veer Savarkar that the Hindu nation took shape when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana is incorrect.

He also stated that the claim of Ramjanmabhoomi being at the site of the Babri Masjid is also a lie. In 2023, their (BJP) statement of Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda killing then Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan is also false.

Chetan underlined that Hindutva could be defeated by the truth. “Truth is equality,” his post stated. -IANS

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