BENGALURU: Bowing to strong public outcry and attack from the opposition, the State government on Sunday ordered an inquiry into the alleged police brutality on those agitating against the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal order in many parts of Dharwad district during the Karnataka bandh on Saturday.
The Tribunal had rejected the State’s application seeking allocation of 7 tmcft of water to the Kalasa-Banduri Nala.
Home Minister G Parameshwara, who announced the decision on Sunday, tendered an apology to innocent farmers, women and children who were beaten up mercilessly during the police lathi-charge, especially in Yamanur village of Navalgund in Dharwad district.
Kamal Pant, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Karnataka Reserve Police, has been asked to conduct the probe.
“Stringent action would be taken against police personnel if they were found to have exceeded their limit and indulged in brutality.
“I have asked Kamal Pant to complete the probe in one week and submit the report. Action would be taken based on the findings of the report,” Parameshwara said.
Sensing the seriousness of the incidents, Parameshwara said the police have been instructed not to arrest the aged and students. Cases registered against several people on charges of setting government offices on fire, destroying records and stone-pelting would be withdrawn based on the probe report findings.
Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent of Police Nehru Olekar has been transferred and some policemen, including an inspector, have been suspended in the aftermath of the lathi-charge, the minister said.
Parameshwara has also instructed the police to desist from wielding lathis ruthlessly on innocent people fighting for a cause in the Mumbai-Karnataka region. He also urged the opposition parties not to politicise the protest.
The JD(S) wants to press for a joint House committee to investigate the incidents of police excesses, according to MLC Basavaraj Horatti.
Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Yamanur village as scores of farmers, women and children who suffered the police high-handedness have vowed to “teach the police a lesson”. Many villagers came out of their homes with sticks, axes and swords threatening to attack the police.