Pro-Kannada outfits protested in Karnataka’s Belagavi on Thursday, demanding action against persons who allegedly beat up a student after he waved the state flag during an inter-college festival, The Indian Express reported.
A video of the incident, which took place on Wednesday at Gogte PU College of Commerce, was widely shared on social media.
The student was assaulted at a time when tensions are high in Belagavi because of the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The border dispute dates back to the period between the 1950s and 1960s when the states were formed. Maharashtra claims that 865 villages on the border should have been merged with it, while Karnataka claims 260 villages because it has the majority Kannada-speaking population.
The dispute was renewed after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai claimed that the Jat taluka panchayats in Sangli district had passed a resolution in November to merge with Karnataka, when there was a severe drought and acute drinking water crisis. The chief minister said that Karnataka has formulated a plan to help them.
On Thursday, Kannada Rakshana Vedike claimed that the police did not even help the student who was thrashed. The organisation alleged that the student was thrashed by the officers instead.
“It is very unbecoming of senior police officers to thrash a young boy who came to the police station to register a complaint,” said Deepak Gudaga, a member of the organisation. “We will continue to protest until the perpetrators are punished.”
He added that many colleges in Belagavi are dominated by Marathi-speaking people. He also said that Kannada culture was insulted in these colleges.
The police have now tightened security around the campus and a holiday was declared after the incident, The Indian Express reported.
Meanwhile, the college authorities have said that they will review the attack.
“The management has taken precautionary measures to respond to the emergency situation in time,” the college said in a statement. “The management consisting of the principal and other members will conduct a thorough review of the incident and appropriate action will be taken against the perpetrators responsible for the incident that took place on Wednesday.”