Prohibitory orders in Belagavi extended till Wednesday

An attempt by Kannada groups to hold procession was stopped by police

Belagavi city, which was tense after incidents of defacing the statue of Sangolli Rayanna and pelting stones at government vehicles in the wee hours of Saturday, remained calm on Sunday but for an attempt at protest despite prohibitory orders.

As a precautionary measure, the police, who had imposed prohibitory orders in Belagavi till Monday morning, have extended it till 6 a.m. on Wednesday. A total of 110 persons have been booked so far in three cases. The police are on the look out for some more people involved in acts of vandalism in the city on Saturday.

Security has been beefed up and additional forces deployed at strategic locations in the city as the ongoing Legislature session will resume on Monday after the weekend break. The incidents of Belagavi are expected to resonate in the session.

On Sunday, when Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (T.A. Narayana Gowda faction) activists tried to take out a protest march to Angol, the place where the statue of Sangolli Rayanna (a 19th Century icon who fought the British) was vandalised, the police took them into preventive custody.

KRV activists had begun a demonstration at Sangolli Rayanna Circle at Peeranwadi in Belagavi and wanted to proceed to Angol demanding action against the members of Maharashtra Ekikarana Samiti (MES), accused of indulging in defacement and attacks, and a ban on the organisation.

As prohibitory orders are in force, the police did not allow them to continue their protest. When the situation threatened to go out of control, they took several activists into custody and dispersed the crowd.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra appealed to the people to maintain calm, disapproving of incidents of desecrating of statues of national heroes.

Speaking to presspersons in Hubballi and his constituency Shiggaon, Mr. Bommai clarified that no one would be spared. He said arrests had been made in both in connection with the incidents at Belagavi and Bengaluru (where the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji was defaced) and a thorough investigation would be conducted.

He said both Shivaji and Rayanna fought for the unity and freedom of the country and any attempt to divide the country using their names should be strongly condemned. The Chief Minister categorically stated that the government would not tolerate any act of violence, vandalism and any attempt to incite people in the name of language and disturb peace and harmony.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Sunday, Mr. Jnanendra said that while majority of Kannada and Marathi speaking people were living in harmony in Belagavi, only few with vested interests were trying to disturb peace and harmony. Such people would be strictly dealt with, he said.

‘Don’t victimise Kannada groups’

JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has urged Karnataka Government to take stern action against those who defaced the statue of Sangolli Rayanna, rather than victimise Kannada organisations. In a series of tweets on Sunday, Mr. Kumaraswamy also took on Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and urged him not to justify action of MES activists who allegedly defaced the statue.

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