The wife of slain Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) leader Praveen Nettaru, Nutan Kumari, was let go from her temporary position on Friday as part of a “natural process” following a change in government, but Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced on Saturday that she would be reinstated on “humanitarian” grounds.
Siddaramaiah said in a Kannada tweet that “after a new government comes in, it is a natural process to dismiss the temporary employees who were appointed by the previous government from the government service.” “More than 150 contract employees have already been fired from their jobs, not only Praveen Nettaru's wife. There is no involvement from the government in this.
In addition, he said: “Considering this to be a special case, Kumari will be re-appointed on humanitarian grounds.”
Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) voiced their opposition and called Kumari's dismissal a “vendetta” before the development took place. Officials from the state government, however, made it clear that because Kumari had been engaged on a contract basis during the time while the BJP was in power under the leadership of the previous chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, her employment had been terminated in the normal order. “The employment order stated that her tenure would last until the chief minister's term or until further notice,” a senior IAS official who wished to remain anonymous said.
On July 26 of last year, Nettaru (31), a leader of the BJYM (the BJP's youth wing), was reportedly killed in Bellare town by individuals associated with the Popular Front of India (PFI), a banned Islamic group. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been given the case.
As a result of the murder, the then-chief minister Bommai signed an order appointing Kumari on a contract basis. Nalin Kumar Kateel, the Dakshina Kannada MP and state head of the BJP, made the plea for the appointment. She was appointed as a senior assistant (Group C) in CM Bommai's office by an order of the previous BJP administration on September 22 of that year. She was subsequently assigned, nonetheless, at Kumari's request, to the Dakshina Kannada deputy commissioner's office, where she started working on October 14.
On Friday, a termination order was given to Kumari.
BJP leader Kateel had earlier said that he will ask chief minister Siddaramaiah to restore Kumari's position. He told reporters, “I'll send a letter to the chief minister, and if the government rejects the request, I'll arrange for temporary job for her at any of the Union government enterprises in Mangaluru, including the New Mangalore Port Trust.
In a social media post, the BJP chapter in Karnataka also criticised the recently elected Congress administration. “Members of the PFI, a terrorist group supported by the Congress and spreading anti-communal hate, assassinated Praveen Nettaru. On the basis of compassion, our government offered his wife a position at the deputy commissioner's office in Mangaluru. It is abhorrent that the Congress administration has started utilising its politics of hate. We demand that the government reverse the cruel dismissal decision right now,” the state BJP said on its official Twitter account.