Daijiworld Media Network - Bengaluru (SP)
Bengaluru, Mar 2: The action of the state energy minister, D K Shivakumar, in getting a social activist arrested for calling him to relate his woes because of irregular power supply, and the way in which the local police arrested him by breaking open the door of his house at night, have come in for severe criticism from all over the state. Most of the people who posted their opinions in social websites felt this as an arrogant attempt at crushing the voices of dissent coming from the general public.
Sai Giridhar Rai, social activist, entrepreneur, and farmer from Bellare in Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada district was arrested by police on Sunday night after he called the minister to relate his woes. The minister claimed that the caller had used derogatory language with him during heated exchange of words between the two.
Vedavati, mother of Rai, said that the policemen who approached her home at 10 pm to take her son away were questioned from behind the doors whether they were policemen. The policemen, in a voice of arrogance, said that they were thieves. She said the policemen did not heed to her plea that her son would personally come to the station the next morning.
Many have questioned the propriety of getting a common man arrested for contacting the minister, whose job is to serve the citizens. Crushing the voice of a common man, who wanted to share his problems with the minister, has come in for widespread criticism. Many feel that the minister should have sought legal recourse if he was hurt by the caller's utterances, but forcing the police to arrest the man at night by breaking open the doors of his house was unjustified, as per popular opinion.
Well-known advocate, C V Nagesh, felt that this was a blatant misuse of power by the minister. He pointed out that immediate arrest becomes necessary for serious crimes like murder, rape, robbery etc where collection of evidence in time happens to be of prime importance. He said that even the Supreme Court has prescribed that persons should be arrested at night only if it is extremely necessary, and arrest is not necessary in case of offences involving imprisonment of less than seven years. He said the correct course would have been to serve notice to the accused to summon him to the police station, and that he could have been arrested only if he continuously failed to cooperate with the police.
Former Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice N Santosh Hegde, also said that the person who tried to brief the minister about his power woes was not involved with heinous crimes like murder. He also criticized the police for rushing to arrest the accused at night just because a minister had called them. He wanted to know whether the police show the same enthusiasm in all similar cases.
D K Shivakumar speaks
In the meanwhile, Shivakumar, speaking to reporters here on Tuesday, said that he had complained against Sai Giridhar Rai from Bellare for repeatedly calling him and officials of his office and denigrating them with abusive words. He clarified that he had called Dakshina Kannada superintendent of police on this issue, and instructed the police to register case against Rai, on the basis of which the caller was arrested.
"Giridhar Rai called me as well as my office staff for three consecutive days and used filthy language in the guise of narrating power problems. As he continued to behave in this way, I contacted officials in the district, who too said they were also at the receiving end of his verbal tirades since the last six months. The officials also told me that Rai claimed himself to be a BJP activist and therefore could do anything at his whims and fancies. Because of these developments, I had to complain against him," the minster claimed.
It is also gathered that within a few minutes since Rai called up the minister, Sullia Mescom engineer, Harish Naik, filed complaint in Sillia station against Rai, accusing Giridhar of abusing the former. Thereafter, a team of policemen led by Sullia police circle inspector, Satish BS, and sub-inspector, Chandrashekhar, arrested the accused.
Superintendent of police of Dakshina Kannada district, Dr S D Sharanappa, said that the policemen went to arrest Rai on the basis of complaint filed by an officer of Mescom. He said that Rai used to call Mescom officials and energy minister and talk rashly with them. He charged the family of behaving rudely with the police who went there to arrest Rai and making them to wait outside for two hours.
But the family says 12 policemen who came in three vehicles rushed inside by breaking open the rear door without waiting to listen what the family had to say. Within minutes, they dragged Rai away. Giridhar's wife, Vinaya, said that in the interests of the people of the area, her husband had called the minister and placed before him the woes of the local people. Peruvaje gram panchayat vice president, Sunil, also said that Giridhar used to contact Mescom officials frequently to explain to them the problems faced by people on account of power outage. He said the arrest of Rai was shocking.