Bharatiya Janata Party leader BS Yediyurappa on Monday said that Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has assured him of legal action against persons who have attacked Muslims in the state, The News Minute reported.

Yediyurappa urged Hindus and Muslims to “live like brothers” and said that there should not be any untoward incident in the state. “They should stop acts causing disharmony and let everyone, including Muslims, live with respect and honour,” he said.

Yediyurappa, a former Karnataka chief minister, made the comments amid a series of campaigns by Hindu supremacist groups targeting Muslims and their sources of livelihood. In the past two months, Hindutva groups have vandalised Muslim-owned shops near temples, heckled and abused Muslim students protesting against the ban on hijab in educational institutes, and urged Hindus not to avail cab services offered by Muslim drivers.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said that the state government will take action against those disrupting peace, The Indian Express.

“Ours is a government constituted under the Constitution of India, we are of the view that law and order should be protected, [and] that all people are equal,” he said. “There is no problem if people express their opinions but when they take the law into their own hands or when there is violence, the government will not tolerate it.”

Bommai said that the government knows how to protect the state, and is doing it.

“We do not need to learn from these people [Congress] who dropped cases against several persons who were accused of crimes,” he said. “Where was their awareness of their duties at that time?”

On Monday, Karnataka Law Minister JC Madhuswamy also said that the government will take strict action against “fringe groups” if the situation worsens, The Times of India reported. He added that the Constitution gives people the right to live, carry out their business, and practice their religion.

“All those who chose to stay back in India after Independence are Indians,” he said. “This country belongs to everyone. I don’t see any meaning in creating about that now.”

Nuggikeri incident was retaliatory action, claims MLA

BJP MLA from Hubbali-Dharwad Arvind Bellad claimed that Muslim-owned stalls in Dharwad were vandalised by Hindutav outfits in retaliation to certain actions by Muslims”, The Hindu reported.

The incident took place on Saturday outside the Nuggikeri Anjaneya temple on the outskirts of Dharwad city. A widely shared video from the violence showed a group of people smashing watermelons from a stall on the ground, as people looked on.

Bellad alleged that Muslims did not respect the Karnataka High Court’s order upholding the ban on hijab in schools and colleges by calling for a bandh. The MLA, however, said that he was not justifying the vandalism.

Bellad also endorsed a remark by BJP General Secretary CT Ravi in connection with the incident. Ravi had said that “those who expressed concern when watermelons were broken were silent when heads were broken”.

The Hubbali-Dharwad MLA alleged that the attire of Muslims who run stalls near temples could provoke Hindu devotees. “They [Hindus] may start thinking that those who are on the temple premises may enter the temples one day,” he said. “To avoid such incidents the Muslim leaders should think of remedial measures and guide the community members.”