Bengaluru: Sixteen people were arrested in connection with death threat calls received by the Karnataka Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, police said Saturday. The arrests were made after the Congress leader claimed that he had received death threats over his demand to remove Hindu Mahasabha leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s flex from Muslim dominated areas in the state.
In a counter, Siddaramaiah warned the BJP and its activists that the Congress will "teach them a lesson" once it comes back to power in the next year's assembly elections.
And then came a warning from Home Minister Araga Jnanendra who asked Siddaramaiah to exercise control over his public statements. “His statements must be civil and not hurt another person’s sentiments or aggravate the situation,” he said.
In an official statement, Kodagu Superintendent Capt Aiyappa said, ,"A total of 16 people have been arrested in Kodagu in connection with the death threat calls to LoP Siddaramaiah, 9 people have been arrested in Kushalnagar and 7 in Madikeri, all of whom will be produced before the magistrate court."
Earlier, after being informed of the threat calls, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had ordered a probe into the matter. He said that the government had taken this issue very seriously and promised a thorough probe into it.
The threat calls came a day after an egg attack on Siddaramaiah's car in Kodagu.
Bommai said he spoke to Siddaramaiah and “assured him that he would get additional security for his safety.”
“In this matter, nobody should take the law into their hands. It is happening from both sides. Nobody should make provocative statements. I have issued strict instructions to all superintendents of police, besides asking them to provide additional security for Siddaramaiah,” said the CM.
As reports of the threat calls poured in, Congress held protest meetings in several places.
The attacks on Siddaramaiah have bolstered his image in the Congress, taking him one step forward to stake his claim to the chief ministerial face of the party in the Assembly elections eight months ahead.