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Shivamogga Banner Row: Third Attack in Two Days, Cops Suggest No Communal Angle

Shivamogga Police have ruled out a communal angle in the attack on a Bajrang Dal worker in Bhadravathi.

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Edited By :Garima Sadhwani

The situation in Shivamogga and Bhadravathi continues to remain tense as a third case of attack was reported within a span of 24 hours on Tuessday, 16 August.

Just a day after the clashes over posters of VD Savarkar and Tipu Sultan, and with the attack on Saddam Jamkhandi in Upparkeri Cross, and the stabbing of Prem Singh in Gandhi Bazaar on Independence Day, a Bajrang Dal worker was allegedly attacked by a Muslim youth in Bhadravathi town.

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Bhadravathi Police Rule Out Communal Angle

A man identified as Sunil, resident of Nehru Nagar in Bhadravathi town, was beaten up and was hit on his head and face, allegedly by a Muslim youth, around 9:30 am on 16 August.

The survivor who has links with the right-wing Hindutva organisation Bajrang Dal is being treated at a local hospital, while the police arrested a Muslim man on the same day.

The accused has been identified as Mubaraq, who doesn't have any links with any political or social organisation.

Meanwhile, sources in the Bhadravathi Old Town Police Station told The Quint that the clash was not communal in nature. However, "There were curfew orders in place and the situation is quite tense. The person who was attacked also has links with Bajrang Dal and things could have gone worse," added the source.

Speaking to reporters in Shivamogga, superintendent of police (SP) BM Lakshmi Prasad said, "The two people involved in the fight reside in the same neighbourhood. The fight took place because of a petty fight and there is no communal angle in the case. We have registered a case as per sections 341 & 323 of IPC."

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Bajrang Dal Workers and BJP Leaders Allege Hate Crime

Bajrang Dal and other right-wing Hindutva organisations' workers claim that the attack was in response to the clashes over posters of Savarkar being put up on Independence Day.

Speaking to The Quint, a Bajrang Dal leader from Shivamogga, Deenadayalu, questioning the investigators, said, "The police are lying that the attack on Sunil was due to personal reasons. Is it not evident, by the timing of the attack that this was communal in nature?"

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader KS Eshwarappa spoke to reporters in Shivamogga and accused the Congress and the previous Siddaramaiah-led government of "emboldening" radical Islamic organisations.

"The one who is involved in the stabbing of Prem Singh and clashes in Shivamogga is the husband of a Congress corporator. Anti-nationals removed the poster of Savarkar and Muslims are responsible for attacks on Hindus in our district," alleged the former minister.

Highlighting the attack on Sunil in Bhadravathi, Eshwarappa and other local BJP leaders called the members of the minority Muslim community goons, and also appealed to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to ensure a ban on organisations like the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).

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Security Increased to Maintain Harmony in Shivamogga

Two days after the clashes and three separate attacks in the Shivamogga district, security has been heightened to avoid any possible communal fights.

Though schools and institutions have reopened, normal life continues to be affected with section 144 still in place. More than 1,000 police personnel have been deputed in Shivamogga and the neighbouring town of Bhadravathi to ensure peace.

A battalion of Rapid Action Force (RAF), along with the district police, have been patrolling sector-wise, and are monitoring the situation. Senior police officers ADGP Alok Kumar and IGP K Thiyagarajan also led a march route in both the towns.

Meanwhile, the situation in Udupi has turned tense after a banner depicting 'Hindu Rashtra' with VD Savarkar and Subhas Chandra Bose being described as revolutionaries, was put up in Brahmagiri Circle on 15 August, Independence Day.

The banner which also has the phrase, "Freedom was not alms given by the British for non-violence," in Kannada, was objected against by the Congress and the PFI.

Despite submitting a memorandum to the the municipal authorities and requesting the removal of the poster, the police have decided to provide security to the poster of Savarkar and Bose.

Additional police personnel have also been deployed for security reasons. Sources in the Udupi city police told The Quint that the request for protecting the banner came from the municipal council itself to avoid any untoward incidents.

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Topics:  Communalism   Hindu-Muslim   Shivamogga 

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