Actor Prakash Raj has shared a social media video in which a man wearing saffron tilak and scarf and sitting against a saffron background is seen threatening to kill the outspoken critic of the Hindutva brand of politics if he did not apologise within 24 hours for comments on a rape and murder in a temple town.
Describing Prakash as a “traitor” and a member of the “tukde gang”, the man in the video hurled the threat: “If you don’t do it (apologise) within 24 hours, your shroud will be in front of your house.”
The man in the video was speaking to the camera against the background of a saffron wall adorned with pictures of Bharat Mata, Bhagat Singh, Shivaji, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and a collage of photographs of soldiers.
The video, originally posted on August 8, was shared by Prakash on his X (formerly Twitter) handle on Wednesday. The actor tagged chief minister Siddaramaiah, deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar, home minister G. Parameshwara and the Karnataka police with the comment: “See, they are threatening to kill me.”
The video tweeted by Prakash is part of a Facebook post by one Ramya Karthal on her page. The original post was found on the Facebook page of one Santhosh Karthal, whose profile picture matches the man in the video.
The threat is linked to a recent comment by Prakash about the 2012 rape and murder of a 17-year-old college student whose body was found in Dharmasthala, where a revered Hindu temple is located.
Footage from the threat video shared by Prakash Raj. The Telegraph
The actor, while answering a reporter’s query in Shimoga recently, said that it was “reasonable to subject a priest to interrogation". But he had made it clear that any crime committed was upon the individual and it was wrong to blame the faith he belonged to.
“Any crime committed by anyone, whether he is a dharmadhikari (head of the mutt) or anyone, is on him. You say that man is not good. But don’t say the religion is not right,” Prakash had said.
The 17-year-old college student was reported missing on October 9, 2012, and her body was found a day later near the Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala. The case gained much public attention with the local people and the girl’s family pointing fingers at some influential people associated with the Dharmasthala.
But the police investigation did not find any substance in the allegation and none of those against whom the girl's family had brought allegations was named in the chargesheet.
The police had then arrested a local resident, identified as Santosh Rao, and the then Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah had handed over the case to the CBI in 2013 after a public outcry. The central agency filed its chargesheet in 2014 naming only Rao. But the special CBI court in Bangalore in June this year acquitted Rao for want of evidence.