Sunday, Jul 03, 2022
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Karnataka: Protests Erupt Over Bajrang Dal Activist’s Killing In Shivamogga

Karnataka: Bajrang Dal activist Harsha, a resident of Seegehatti, was attacked by a group of unknown persons at Bharati Colony in Shivamogga on Sunday night.

Bajrang Dal activists protest.(File photo-Representational image)
Bajrang Dal activists protest.(File photo-Representational image) PTI

A 28-year-old Bajrang Dal activist was stabbed in this district headquarters town, following which violence broke out during his funeral procession that left a photo journalist and a woman cop among three injured.

Two persons have been arrested in connection with the Sunday night killing, with the police saying efforts were on to nab the rest of the suspects at the earliest, even as the government appealed for calm.

 A four-five member group of assailants was suspected to be involved in the killing, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said.

 On Monday, three persons were injured when miscreants pelted stones during the funeral procession of the deceased Harsha that took place amid tight security, even as several vehicles were torched and damaged while there were reports of some shops being ransacked.

 According to official sources, there was stone pelting when the body of Harsha was being taken from District McGann Hospital here. 

Police tried to bring the situation under control and made way for the funeral procession to move further and the final rites to take place.

Harsha, a resident of Seegehatti, was attacked by a group of unknown persons at Bharati Colony here on Sunday night, following which he was taken to McGann Hospital where he succumbed to injuries.

Karnataka Minister K S Eshwarappa, who is from the district alleged that "Musalman goondas" were behind Harsha's murder.

He said, "recently D K Shivakumar (state Congress President) had made an instigating statement that at a government school premises, the national flag was lowered to hoist Bhagwa (saffron) flag and 50 lakh saffron flags were brought from Surat in lorries and were distributed among students. This had given abetment to Muslim goondas. We will not allow such goondagiri in Shivamogga and will suppress it."

Shivakumar hit back at the minister, saying Eshwarappa cannot sleep without taking his name.

According to Shivamogga Deputy Commissioner Selvamani, "already section 144 has been imposed (for two days). Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) himself is monitoring the maintenance of law and order...we are doing all that we can and bring the situation under control at the earliest."

ADGP Murugan said efforts were on to bring the situation under control. Superintendent of Police (SP) and Deputy Commissioner were visiting various places and using force wherever required, and the administration is taking all the necessary measures to ensure peace and order is not disturbed.

He said a case has been registered and the investigating team has already arrested two accused in connection with yesterday's murder and have gathered complete information about who were all involved in it. Efforts were on to nab the others, he added.

Regarding damage to property, separate cases will be booked and who ever was involved, whether it is a Hindu or a Muslim, merciless action will be taken against them, he said.

"I appeal to everyone to maintain peace. Don't put fire to your own city,"he said.

The SP has formed four teams under DSP (Deputy superintendent of police) level officers, and the additional SP himself is supervising the investigation, he added.

Earlier, hundreds of people and Hindu workers took part in the funeral procession that was joined by Eshwarappa, who also the local MLA and Shivamogga MP B Y Raghavendra.

The administration had declared holiday for schools and colleges in the city today, while shops and commercial establishments remained shut in parts of the city.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, appealing for peace said that the government will get the murder investigated and punish the guilty at the earliest.

Jnanendra, who met the family earlier in the day said he has not got any information about involvement of any organisation behind the murder so far, but that a four-five member group was involved.

"Police have information on who was involved in the murder and were behind them and very soon they will be arrested. According to information, four to five people were involved," he said.

In response to a question, Jnanendra said, Harsha was a Hindu karyakarta and there is information that there were a couple of cases against him, and earlier too he had been attacked. "They are all being looked into."

Congress leader Shivakumar said there is information that the murder might have been due to personal issue.

"There is such information, such reports are there in the media also, we don't know. Guilty must be punished and justice should be given to the family of the deceased," he said.

Reacting to Eshwarappa's allegation against him, he said the minister "can't sleep without taking my name.....If I have incited people, let them take action against me. Case should be booked against him  (for his recent comments on the national flag) first...he should have been sacked from the Ministry."

Meanwhile, "#JusticeForHarsha" was trending on Twitter, with several users demanding justice for the young activist.

Among them were actor Raveena Tandon and BJP leaders Kapil Mishra and the saffron party's Andhra Pradesh state general secretary Vishnu Vardhan Reddy.

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