BIJAPUR: Police say they have definite proof, including video footage, that former minister Basanagouda Patil Yatnal was responsible for Monday’s communal clash in the city.
IGP (Belgaum division) Bhaskar Rao told reporters here on Tuesday that Yatnal has been absconding since violence erupted in the Gandhi Chowk vegetable market.
Three cases have been booked against him and he will be arrested soon. About ten of his followers are also absconding, the IGP said.
Rao said seven FIRs have also been registered against the trouble-makers. By Tuesday, 26 people from both groups were taken into custody and more arrests will follow, he added.
He said Dharwad Superintendent of Police Lokesh is heading the investigation. Besides the Bijapur SP, SPs from Bagalkot, Gadag and Dharwad are also in the city to monitor the situation while the IGP himself has been here for the last two days.
Rao said the violence has been pre-planned. He said a few vehicles were damaged and business establishments had suffered losses. Four people, including two policemen, were injured.
He said 120 out-station buses were provided police escorts.
He appealed to people not to pay heed to any rumours. Rao said it is essential now to undertake confidence building measures.
The IGP said two groups had applied for permission to take out rallies to celebrate Narendra Modi’s swearing-in as Prime Minister on Monday.
The BJP district unit had sought permission for a bike rally and sweet distribution programme which passed off peacefully.
The Swami Vivekananda organisation, headed by Raghu Annigeri, a staunch loyalist of Yatnal, was also given permission, but with certain restrictions. Yatnal participated in this rally and violence erupted when it reached the Gandhi Chowk market.
Minster Tours Affected Areas
Water Resources and District Minister M B Patil toured the affected areas near Gandhi Chowk in the city on Tuesday.
The clash was restricted to the market lane between Nehru Market and LBS Market.
Patil told reporters on Tuesday that innocent vegetable vendors have borne the brunt of Monday’s violence. Basanagouda Patil Yatnal is directly responsible for the incident and it was all pre-planned, the minister added.
He instructed the police to take action against the guilty. He said the Congress government is fully prepared to deal with those who disturb peace.
He said the vegetable vendors should be compensated. Many vendors, especially women, complained about the complacency of the police.
“We could have shut the place for a day if we were warned before,” said Jahannubi Inadar, a vegetable vendor.