The BJP Yuva Morcha on Monday slapped a legal notice on Ramachandra Guha seeking an unconditional apology for linking the Sangh Parivar with the killing of Gauri Lankesh, prompting the noted historian to lament that "we no longer live in Vajpayee's India".
The notice said Guha made the "utterances" intentionally to bring disrepute to the RSS and BJP with an "ulterior motive" and that the "direct allegations, insinuations and innuendos" impute criminal conduct.
It quoted Guha as having said in an interview, "It is very likely that her murderers came from the same Sangh Parivar from which the murderers of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi came." It also said Guha had made similar statements in an article.
Guha's remarks had come in the context of the unfortunate killing of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on September 5, it said, adding, "You (Guha) have alleged that the perpetrators of the said crimes belong to our Client's Organisation."
The notice has been issued by Haranahalli Law Partners on behalf of State BJP Yuva morcha Secretary Karunakar Khasale.
Guha responded to the notice through a series tweets. "in India today, independent writers and journalists are harassed, persecuted, and even killed. But we shall not be silenced."
He also tweeted, "Atal Bihari Vajpayee said the answer to a book or article can only be another book or article. But we no longer live in Vajpayee's India."
Noting that investigations were still ongoing in the deaths of rationalists Narendra Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh, the notice also said no trial had taken place against any person, much less any conviction.
"Under such circumstances, without any basis or proof,you have given false and mischievous statements clearly calculated to defame our Client's organisation and its members," the notice says.
The "baseless utterances" were also calculated to influence and mislead the ongoing investigations into the incidents, which amounts to illegal interference in the course of justice and was a grave offence, it said.
The notice demands Guha to categorically issue an unconditional apology within three days from the date of its receipt and to refrain from making any similar or identical statements or allegations.
It said if Guha failed to comply with the "instructions", civil and criminal prosecution would be initiated against him.
Gauri Lankesh, a harsh critic of Hindutva politics, was gunned down by unidentified assailants at her residence here on September 5, with no clues on the incident so far.
The Karnataka government has formed a Special Investigation Team to probe the coldblooded killing that has caused national outrage and protests.