Twenty persons were injured in violence in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district on Monday during the funeral procession of a Bajrang Dal worker who died on Sunday night, The Times of India reported.
The Bajrang Dal member, Harsha, was allegedly attacked by unknown persons at Ravi Varma lane in the city’s Bharathi Colony.
Over 1,000 people accompanied Harsha’s hearse van, despite orders prohibiting the assembly of five or more people. Some of them became violent when the procession reached Seegahatti area, where the Bajrang Dal worker had lived.
Two photojournalists, a policeman and a woman were among those who sustained injuries, according to the Deccan Herald.
The police have taken two persons in custody for allegedly setting two autorickshaws and a motorcycle on fire during the violence, ANI quoted Shivamogga district minister-in-charge KC Narayana Gowda as saying.
Gowda said that the situation “will normalise soon” and asked people not to worry.
Protestors allegedly ransacked shops and hotels at the Azad Nagar and New Thirthahalli localities, and vandalised vegetable and fruit stalls. Some demonstrators also set tyres on fire.
The police baton-charged protestors and used tear gas shells in an effort to stop the violence.
The police had given permission to a funeral procession from a district hospital where the post-mortem examination was conducted to Harsha’s home in Seegahatti. State minister KS Eshwarappa and MP BY Raghavendra paid their respects to him, the Deccan Herald reported.
Meanwhile, two persons arrested for allegedly killing the Bajrang Dal worker have been identified as Khasif and Sayed Nadeem, according to The Times of India. The police have also reportedly arrested another person from Bengaluru.
Apart from these three persons, nine others have also been taken into police custody in connection with the alleged murder, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said, PTI reported. “If they are involved, they will be arrested,” he said.
The minister said that authorities are carrying out a detailed investigation and looking into all angles, including that related to the ban on hijabs in educational institutions in the state.
Jnanendra also said that the police have performed their duty and urged people not to disturb peace. He assured people that the government will arrest the culprits and ensure that they get appropriate punishment.
“These kind of murders should stop and it should end with Harsha’s murder,” he said, according to PTI. “This is the commitment of the government and the police department. We are taking this case to the logical end. So, there should not be any doubt among people.”
The minister added that action will also be taken against those who engaged in stone-pelting.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Honnali, MP Renukacharya, announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for Harsha’s family, ANI reported.
“The loss of Harsha is like losing my own son,” he said. “I stand with his family and am giving them Rs 2 lakh.”
Renukacharya alleged that the Congress was behind the Bajrang Dal worker’s killing and urged the state home minister to hand over the case to the National Investigation Agency.
Violence against Muslims
On Monday, mobs threw stones at the homes of Muslims and ransacked their vehicles in Shivamogga.
The violence began on Sunday night and continued in various parts of the city till Monday noon despite the district administration’s orders prohibiting people from gathering in groups of five or more in public.
A 20-year-old local of Nalbandwadi locality, Saleem (name changed to protect identity), told Scroll.in that about 300 people armed with sticks and swords participated in a motorcycle rally soon after Sunday midnight.
Nalbawandi is located around 800 metres away from Bharti Colony where Harsha was stabbed.