ABVP Activists Storm Karnataka Home Minister's Residence In Protest Over BJP Leader's Murder

ABVP activists who were protesting the killing of BJYM leader Praveen Nettar, who was killed in Dakshin Kannada district on Tuesday.

Photograph from ABVP protest at Karnataka Home Minister's residence

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists were baton-charged on Saturday when they barged into the residence of Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra in a protest over the murder of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth wing leader in Dakshina Kannada district. 

Activists of ABVP, the students wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS), on Saturday stormed into the compound of Jnanendra's bungalow at Jayamahal in Bengaluru and raised 'We want justice' slogan while holding their organisation's saffron flag.

The ABVP activists were protesting over the murder of Praveen Nettar, a Zilla Committee Member of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha — the youth wing of BJP. He was hacked to death in front of his broiler shop in Bellare in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district by three bike-borne miscreants on Tuesday night. 

Nettar's killing has led to angst within BJP and Sangha Parivar ranks as they accused the BJP government of Karnataka of not standing up to protect their workers. BJP members have also resorted to mass resignations to register their protest, according to reports.

Three people have so far been held in the case, with two of them suspected to have links to the Islamic organisation Popular Front of India (PFI). ABVP activists on Saturday sought a ban on PFI and its allied outfits, which they alleged were behind the killing of Hindutva activists and their growing influence in Karnataka especially in the coastal districts bordering Kerala.

The police sought to persuade ABVP activists to go away but they remained adamant and staged a sit-in demonstration inside the compound raising slogans. Later, the activists tried to storm Jnanendra's house. Finally, the policemen dragged them out of the bungalow. A few of them were baton-charged as they resisted.

Later, the activists were driven away from the spot in government vehicles and taken to the JC Nagar police station where cases were registered against 30 of them.

Reacting to the incident, Jnanendra said he learnt that some youth calling themselves ABVP activists came to his house and staged a demonstration, when he was away in Shivamogga.

He said, "Police have taken them in their custody. I have told them (police) to investigate whether they are the members of the ABVP."

He added that if the protesters were ABVP workers, then he would wish to say that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has already explained the measures taken by the government such as handing over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

He said, "I will call them and talk to them. They came to stage a demonstration against the fanatic forces. A few of them did some excesses, which I have noticed. They came to me thinking I am one amongst them and I too feel that they are my people."

Meanwhile, a group of ABVP activists staged a demonstration in Vijayapura seeking a ban on the PFI and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) for their alleged involvement in the murders of Hindutva activists in the state. SDPI is the political arm of PFI.

Bommai on Friday said, "We have decided to hand over the case to the NIA. It will be communicated to the Home Department. Since it is an inter-state issue (Karnataka-Kerala), we decided to hand over the matter to the NIA."

Deccan Herald also reported resignations within the BJP ranks over the murder. It reported, "At Chikkamagaluru, presidents of nine Yuva Morcha mandals, including district Yuva Morcha president Sandeep Harivinangadi resigned. 'How justice was served in past murders [of BJP workers] is in front of our eyes. Strict action has just remained an assurance,' Sandeep and others said in their resignation letter."

The newspaper also reported that there were also reports of resignation from BJYM workers in Bagalkot and Dakshina Kannada districts. 

(With PTI inputs)