Ex Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Thursday condemned the police for filing an FIR against Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait in connection with a “provocative speech” he delivered in Shivamogga last weekend.

“If they really wanted to book cases against those indulging in provocative speeches, how many cases should have been booked against Bhartiya Janta Party leaders by now?” Kumaraswamy said.

The senior Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) leader demanded the withdrawal of cases against Tikait. “It is well within the rights granted by the Constitution to take up struggles & to give a call for struggle. He did not call for assaulting or killing. The case against Tikait should be withdrawn at the earliest,” Kumaraswamy added.

Addressing a farmers’ mahapanchayat in Shivamogga, his first in South India, Tikait had urged Karnataka farmers to lay siege to Bengaluru with their tractors, in protest against the three contentious farm laws, and convert the city into the focal point of agitation, like in Delhi.

“you have to turn Bengaluru into Delhi. You will have to lay siege to the city from all directions,” he had said in his 20th March speech.

Later, on 23rd March, an FIR was registered at Kote police station in Shivamogga on suo motu basis over the alleged provocative speech. According to the police, section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code was invoked against the farmer leader.

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