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'Very sorry, will be on your side': Siddaramaiah to Neha's father

April 23, 2024 15:43 IST

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday spoke to father of slain student Neha Hiremath over phone and said 'sorry' over his daughter's killing, and assured that 'we will be on your side'.

IMAGE: Members of the Anjuman-E-Islam hold a protest against the murder of Neha Hiremath in her college premises, in Dharwad on Monday, April 22, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

The Chief Minister also informed Niranjan Hiremath, who is also a Congress councillor of Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation, about the government's decision to hand over the murder case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and setting up a special court to fast-track trial.

"Niranjan...very sorry. We will be on your side," Siddaramaiah told Hiremath over the phone call during state's Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil's visit to Hiremath's house in Hubballi.


In the conversation on Patil's phone with speakers on, Siddaramaiah can be heard informing Hiremath about the CID probe and setting up a special court.

"It is a serious offence...setting up a special court we will ensure punishment for the accused person."

Hiremath thanked Siddaramaiah on behalf of his family well-wishers and the community for handing over the case to CID and setting up a special court.

"...ensure there is an order at the earliest and provide us justice," he said, as he also thanked Patil, Home Minister G Parameshwara, local Congress MLA Prasad Abbayya and others for their support.

Replying to this, Siddaramaiah said, "We will ensure it, at the earliest."

In a shocking incident, Neha Hiremath, 23, was stabbed to death on the campus of BVB College last Thursday.

The accused Fayaz Khondunaik, who fled from the scene, was arrested by the police subsequently.

Neha was a first year Master of Computer Application (MCA) student and Fayaz was earlier her classmate.

Siddaramaih on Monday had announced his government has decided to hand over the investigation into the incident to the Crime Investigation Department, and to set up a special court for speedy disposal of the case.

The case of brutal murder, which sparked widespread outrage, has snowballed into a political slugfest between ruling Congress and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

While the ruling party has tried to project it as an incident with personal angle, the saffron party has called it a 'love jihad' case and has said it's a testimony of deterioration of law and order in the state.

Earlier, Siddarmaiah's statement that the murder was due to 'personal reasons' and Home Minister G Parameshwara's comments that the duo was in love, has elicited sharp reactions from Hiremath and family members and opposition parties.

Later speaking to reporters, Hiremath apologised to the government, Congress leaders and police for his comments against them and said they were made due to lack of information, amid grief.

"I was grieving my daughter's death... I have got to know about the efforts made by our party leaders in informing the facts about the incident to the government. The government too has responded to it immediately," he added.

He further said, "I had expressed displeasure that they (Congress govt) were not doing anything, and it is true that I had spoken against the government. I was upset that my own people did not stand by one should feel otherwise about it....being a Congress worker, if I have said anything wrong, I apologise."

Thanking all those who had worked towards getting the order (CID probe and special court), Hiremath said, due to lack of information, he even spoke against the Police and Police Commissioner, but after completing rituals related to death, he has got to know facts about the fair investigation that is on.

"If anyone is hurt by my statements, no one should take it otherwise, as I spoke in grief, with lack of information. I have spoken against the government, I apologise," he said.

Also requesting that the special court and any law that the government will be bringing to deal with such incidents to be named after his daughter Neha Hiremath, he said, 'it's my personal request, if it is permissible in law....strong laws should be brought in to stop such heinous incidents'.

Asked if he is satisfied with the CID probe or would demand a CBI probe, for which he had urged earlier, Hiremath said, 'investigation by CID yet to begin, let them start investigation....'

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