Karnataka: Priest Booked Again for Hate Speech

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Siddalinga Swami of Andola Mutt has a history of facing legal troubles for making inflammatory statements

Team Clarion

BENGALURU- Shahapur police in Karnataka on Tuesday registered a case against Hindu priest Sri Siddalinga Swamiji from the Andola Matt in Jewargi taluka of Kalaburagi for allegedly making anti-Muslim hate speech. 

The police have reportedly taken suo moto cognisance of the offence against the seer who also holds the position of state president of Ram Sene, a known right-wing organisation.

Reports reaching here said the Swami was booked for his October 3 speech at Hindu Mahaganapathi Visarjan ceremony wherein he reportedly warned that “Karnataka will become a second Godhra if Hindus are insulted!”

A case has been filed against the seer under Sections 295 (A) and 153 of the Indian Penal Code at the Shahpur police station. 

https://x.com/HateDetectors/status/1711330164565831772?s=20

The seer is not new to make controversial statements. He has a long history of spouting communal hate speech and dabbling in communally charged matters. In March this year, a local court in Karnataka found Swami guilty of delivering a hate speech in 2015 at a public event organised by the VHP at the Government Junior College Grounds in Yadgir.

Similarly, according to Hindutva Profiles website, in 2017, he was even arrested for assaulting a Muslim man. He was taken in custody by the Karnataka Police and put in a 10-day judicial custody prior to being released on bail for the alleged assault and for being involved in the demolition of a hotel in Andola, Karnataka. 

The Swami was also known for promoting the economic boycott of Muslim-owned businesses and enterprises in Karnataka and has given calls for the shutdown of Muslim shops and establishments across the state. Furthermore, continuing his tirade in 2020, the Sri Ram Sene leader seems to have stirred the pot of hatred yet again when he suggested that young student protesters should face a similar fate as the murdered journalist Gauri Lankesh. 

Later, at a public gathering in Karnataka, he reportedly even offered a reward of 3 lakhs to anyone who would “chop off the tongues” of three Kashmiri students arrested for allegedly chanting pro-Pakistan slogans. 

In 2021, Swami was also part of a delegation that met with the then Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. The delegation vehemently pushed for the inclusion of a law banning religious conversions in the state. The Swami also campaigned for the banning of the Azaan, the Muslim call to prayer, in Karnataka and played a role in right-wing efforts to remove loudspeakers from mosques. Under his leadership, his organisation stirred up Hindu sentiments against halal meat and even has been reported to have mobilised Hindu youth to protest against Muslim girls wearing hijab in colleges and schools. 

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