BENGALURU: A lawyer lodged a complaint against noted playwright and Jnanipath awardee for holding a “Me Too Urban Naxal” placard at an event in Bengaluru Wednesday to observe the first death anniversary of slain journalist Gauri Lankesh.

The advocate Amruthesh N.P. told PTI, "Urban Naxals are those who spread insurgency against the nation.” And that by holding the placard, "Karnad has tried to promote/ abet and propagate the violent and criminal activities of Naxalism.”

Vidhana Soudha (state secretariat) police said they have transferred the complaint to the Halasuru gate police station under whose jurisdiction the incident took place. Karnad with other activists participated in the event outside Lankesh’s residence on Wednesday. They also staged a protest against the house arrest of five activists who the Maharashtra government claims have links with Maoists.

#MeTooUrbanNaxal is a hashtag that has been trending on Twitter now ever since the arrests of the activists. Those against the action have been using the hashtag for jokes, illustrations, memes all representing sardonic humour in support of the arrested intellectuals. However, in Bengaluru Karnad who has been in the right wing’s focus for a long while now has a complaint in the courts against him.

Karnad, speaking at the event, said, “What is horrifying now is not what the Naxals or terrorists are doing but what the police are saying. The accusations against rationalists are a complete hogwash. It is not rational talk. It's scary because they believe they can do what they want. Someone in Pune is investigating the case and someone in Delhi is directing them. This is grim. If speaking up means being a Naxal then I am an Urban Naxal. I am proud to be a part of the hit list.” Incidentally, this sentiment has been echoed by writers, academics, intellectuals across India protesting against the arrests.

The complaint against Karnad exacerbates the division between the right wing outfits and those opposing assassinations and arrests of rationalists, journalists and activists.

Amruthesh’s complaint insists, “By posting such a title on his body, Mr Karnad has tried to promote and propagate the violent and criminal activities of naxalism… There is no urban or rural Naxal. I suspect that Girish Karnad is the root cause for the Naxal movement in Karnataka and he is hand-in-glove with Naxals but pretends to bring them into the mainstream.”

He added, “It is shocking to me that a Jnanpith Awardee is active in the Naxalite movement, which is banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act" insisting that a FIR should be lodged against the filmmaker.

The Gauri Memorial Trust had submitted a memorandum to the Karnataka Governor seeking a ban on the right wing group Sanathan Sanstha. Amruthese, according to the local media, represents Hindu Janajgruthi Samiti that has been defending the accused in Gauri Lankesh’s murder in which the accused are allegedly members of the Sanstha and the Samiti which is an affiliate organisation.

Even as the activists had gathered in memory of Lankesh urging action, the Samit and Sri Rama Sene members held a demonstration in support of the persons who are the accused tin the case. They spoke in praise of the accused, shouted out the names of those arrested by the Karnataka police, and demanded their release. For them these men were declared protectors of the Hindu religion.