Former Karnataka Chief Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state chief BS Yeddyurappa as well as other senior party leaders were detained on Thursday after clashes broke out between BJP supporters and the police in Mangaluru, NDTV reported.
More than BJP 10,000 workers were marching towards the district commissioner’s office when the violence ensued. Though the party had said there would be a bike rally, reports said there were no vehicles in the area.
The BJP is protesting against the murder of 12 party workers in the Dakshina Kannada district, which is a communally sensitive region.
Earlier in the day, the BJP had said it will go ahead with its “Mangaluru Chalo” rally despite a police order prohibiting it, The New Indian Express reported. The Mangaluru Police had only allowed the Opposition party in the state to hold a public meeting at the Nehru Maidan between 11 am and 2 pm.
“We will not allow the rally,” Mangaluru Police Commissioner TR Suresh told ANI. “If they still carry out the rally, we will arrest them.”
Security has been tightened in Mangaluru ahead of the planned event. Apart from police officers, personnel of the Rapid Action Force, City Armed Reserve platoons, 10 deputy superintendents of police and inspectors as well as six superintendents of police from various districts have been deployed.
On Wednesday, the Karnataka High Court had dismissed a Public Interest Litigation seeking a ban on the rally organised by the BJP’s Yuva Morcha. On Tuesday, more than 500 activists, including former Karnataka Home Minister R Ashoka and BJP Yuva Morcha President Pratap Simha, were detained in Bengaluru for defying prohibitory orders against the “Mangaluru Chalo” bike rally.
BJP leader Aravind Limbavali said in Mangaluru that the party will defy the police order on Thursday, as well. “Whether they permit it or not, we will go ahead with the bike rally,” he said. “Who wants police permission? We just asked for protection to conduct a peaceful bike rally.”
More than a thousand bikes will be part of the rally, and 5,000 people are expected to attend the public meeting, he added.