Damage to statue; prohibitory orders in Belagavi

Follows complaint of damage to statue of freedom fighter

 

Police Commissioner K. Thiyagarajan has issued prohibitory orders in Belagavi city and taluk following two untoward incidents in the city limits on December 17 night.

“In view of night activities in Belagavi city, a prohibitory order is imposed under Section 144 CrPC from December 18 morning 8 a.m. to December 19 evening 6 p.m. for Belagavi police commissionerate area, which comprises Belagavi taluka,” according to a release from the commissioner’s office.

A crowd had gathered in front of Tilakwadi police station following a complaint that a group of men had damaged a statue of freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna in Angol in south Belagavi.

Shivaraj Holimath, president of Sangolli Rayanna Sene, complained to the Tilakwadi police that the statue in front of his house was damaged. The fibre glass statue had not been installed, but had been kept in the verandah. It was used for processions on Sangolli Rayanna Jayanti and Durga Mata Doud in Belagavi. According to his complaint, he was awakened by loud noises at night around 2.30 a.m. On coming out, he saw some people damaging the statue’s face, sword and shield. He shooed them away and called out to his neighbours for help. The 8-foot tall statue has been shifted to Tilakwadi police station. A team of the city armed reserve police is camping in Angol.

Earlier, tension prevailed in north Belagavi after news spread of the alleged desecration of a statue of Shivaji Maharaj in Bengaluru. A crowd gathered near Sambhaji Circle in Bogarves around midnight and started shouting slogans in support of the king. Some of them began throwing stones at vehicles. Police rushed to the spot and tried to disperse the crowd. Some police vehicles were damaged. After most of the people had left, the police tried to talk to the remaining protestors who dispersed after the police promised to allow a peaceful protest on December 18.

So far, three cases have been registered in Camp Khade Bazar and Market police stations in connection with incidents of stone-pelting and damage of vehicles in different places of Belagavi. In all, 27 accused have been arrested.

‘Misuse of national heroes’

Speaking to mediapersons in Hubballi on December 18, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai condemned the Belagavi incident. "I have instructed Home Minister to take strict action against those involved," he said. He does not approve of acts of vandalism in the name of national heroes, and has told the police to chalk out a long-term solution to such recurring acts aimed at disturbing peace and harmony.

He also said that there seems to be some mischief involved, as it had happened specifically during the winter session of the Karnataka legislature, and the incident would be thoroughly investigated.

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has appealed for peace. In a statement issued on December 18, he said that both Shivaji Maharaj and Sangolli Rayanna were symbols of pride for the nation. “However, some miscreants had indulged in acts that affect peace and bonhomie between the States, which is highly condrmnable and unpardonable. Already FIRs have bedn registered in connection with both incidents, and few people taken into custody. I apoeal to the public to cooperate with the State in maintaining peace and harmony,” he has said in the statement.

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah too took to twitter to condemn the Belagavi incident and appealed for peace. He urged the State Government not to tolerate such acts and take strict action against those involved.

Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy termed the Belagavi incident an unpardonable act. He said there seems to be a bigger conspiracy to disturb the harmony between Kannada and Marathi-speaking people. As government vehicles had been targetted, it should be treated as an attack on the State, and those involved in such acts should not be spared, he has said in his tweets.

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