A court here has issued a notice to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in a Rs 100-crore defamation case filed against him for “defamatory” remarks against the Bajrang Dal and comparing it to the outlawed PFI in his party’s Karnataka poll manifesto.
The notice was issued by the court on May 12 on a petition filed by Hindu Suraksha Parishad national president Hitesh Bhardwaj. The date for filing of reply to the notice has been fixed for July 10.
“That the respondent issued an election manifesto before the state of Karnataka for the elections. In the said manifesto, at para number 10, the defendant issued defamatory statements against the Bajrang Dal, a unit of the Hindu Suraksha Parishad, by declaring to ban the organisation and comparing it to outlawed organisations like the Popular Front of India (PFI)…,” the petitioner has submitted.
The central government had banned the PFI last year.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Lalit Garg, on Monday said a few days ago, Bhardwaj had filed the defamation suit before the court here.
“The comparison of the Bajrang Dal with the PFI has impaired the name and honour of the members of the Bajrang Dal and the Hindu Suraksha Parishad, who number in the crores, and also defames the followers of Lord Hanuman, who is reverentially worshipped by crores of Hindu practitioners and others,” Garg said.
The petitioner has demanded special damages on amount of injury inflicted to their reputation and honour and “he has filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit”, Bhardwaj’s counsel said.
Garg said the Bajrang Dal, which is a social organisation, has done many works for humanity.
In its Karnataka assembly poll manifesto, which was released on May 2, the Congress said it is committed to take firm and decisive action against individuals and organisations such as the Bajrang Dal and the PFI “spreading hatred” among communities on the grounds of caste and religion.
The action will include a “ban” against such organisations, according to manifesto of the Congress that won the May 10 polls, bagging 135 of the 224 assembly seats in the southern state. The BJP and the former prime minister H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) secured 66 and 19, respectively.