Communal Tension in Shivamogga: Police Arrest Three For Attacking Youth

Amid tension in Shivamogga, slain Bajrang Dal member Harsha's sister seeks protection from district police.

Hindi Female

Shivamogga Police have arrested three men – Market Fouzan, Mohammed Azhar, and Faraz – for having allegedly attacking another man, Prakash, in Shivamogga.

Ever since the incident took place on Monday, 24 October 2022, tension prevailed in the areas Bharmappa Nagar Road and Seegehatti. The police have deployed additional personnel to ensure law and order in the area.


Injured Youth Speaks Out, Says Not Part of Any Organisation 

Two days after the incident, the police have found that neither of the parties were affiliated to political organisations. The police have filed a case of attempt to murder as per section 307 of the Indian Penal Code against all the three arrested accused.

The attack on Prakash is said to have been an alleged retaliation by five men, who were verbally abused by him earlier. According to the police, Prakash, the victim was allegedly attacked with stones and bricks as he was returning home late in the night.

However, Prakash escaped with minor injuries to head and is currently being treated at a local government hospital. Doctors who are treating him have ruled out any danger to his life.

While the police have ruled out communal angle to the case and have asserted personal enmity and retaliation to be the motive, witnesses of the crime in Shivamogga have revealed to The Quint that the accused persons raised slogans against Hindutva and RSS and its affiliate organisations.

Speaking to reporters in Shivamogga, Prakash said, "Three bike borne Muslim men attacked me around 11:00 pm as I was returning home. They also verbally abused me and threw a huge stone on my head. I am not part of any organisation, nor do I have links with the deceased – Harsha (slain Bajrang Dal member). So, I do not know if the attack was pre-planned."

The police investigating the case revealed that the accused and the victim had a verbal altercation a few days earlier and that the people who attacked Prakash, were also the ones who made threatening remarks outside murdered Bajrang Dal member Harsha's residence.

"There were two separate incidents that took place on the night of 24 October. One was the attack on Hindu youth in Seegehatti and the other being a threat to slain Hindutva activist Harsha's kin. We have come to understand the people responsible for these are same. We have arrested three people and are trying to arrest two more who are still missing."
GK Mithun Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Shivamogga

Deceased Harsha's Kin Alleges Threat to Life

It is being alleged that the three men who attacked Prakash, had gone past deceased Bajrang Dal worker Harsha's home in Seegehatti earlier and hurled abuses. The miscreants who escaped before Ashwini (Harsha's sister) could catch them, had also allegedly kicked a bike parked in front of their residence and shouted slogans against the RSS.

Approaching the police, Ashwini and her parents sought protection claiming threat to their life. They said that they felt unsafe as there were multiple cases of violence in the area ever since the death of Harsha in February 2022.

"It has been eight months since my brother died and we have not found peace. Despite the government assuring action, there have been many reports of stabbing in our district, recently a group of men threatened us and my family continues to feel unsafe. All I seek is justice for my brother and protection for my parents."
Ashwini, Harsha's Sister

In an interaction with The Quint, Ashwini also said that the family was not getting any support from the government and that they had failed to protect her and her family in difficult times.

"I have moved from Bengaluru to be with my ailing parents. We have also got new iron grills made and installed cameras at our house, but I still feel unsafe," she added.

However, a counter FIR has been filed against Ashwini as per the complaint given by one Syed Parvez, who has alleged that his car was damaged by Ashwini and ten members of the Bajrang Dal, during a bike rally honouring Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarakar on 22 October.

Reacting to the FIR against her, Ashwini dismissed the allegations and claimed that she was being targeted for political reasons. 

"How can raising slogans in the name of Lord Rama cause any harm to anybody? I was part of the rally as many friends of Harsha requested. I never saw any car nor was I involved in making any political statements after my brother’s death. This is being done to target us. So, I request the police to make a fair enquiry and give us protection," she added.

Meanwhile, the police said that they are examining the CCTV footage and gathering other evidence required to proceed with the case.

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