BELAGAVI: Prohibitory orders were issued in the city and taluk on Saturday following two untoward incidents of vandalisation of freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna's statue and hurling stones at government vehicles.
According to the Police Commissioner's office, the prohibitory order is imposed under Section 144 CrPC from 8 am on December 18 to 6 pm on December 19, for Belagavi police commissionerate area, which comprises Belagavi taluk.
The incident occurred when the city is hosting the winter session of state legislature at Suvarna Vidhana Soudha here.
Condemning the incidents as "unruly", Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said he has directed the Home Minister to take strict action against those trying to disturb peace and order following which some arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
Speaking to reporters in Hubballi, the CM said, "Incidents like stone pelting, causing damage to public property and government vehicles is illegal, so police have been directed to take long term measures, so that such incidents don't recur."
Noting that the attitude of defacing or desecrating statues of national heroes and patriotic leaders was not right, Bommai said such leaders belong to every community and need to be respected.
Responding to a question, he said, "several other factors including the timing of the incident when the legislature session is on, will all be part of the investigation."
President of Sangolli Rayanna Sene Shivaraj Holimath on Saturday complained to the Tilakwadi police that the Sangolli Rayanna statue that was not yet installed, kept in front of his house at Angol in south Belagavi was damaged.
He has alleged that some unknown people caused damage to the statue on Friday night and sped when he raised an alarm.
According to police, the statue has been shifted to Tilakwadi police station and a police force has been deployed in the area.
Earlier in an incident in North Belagavi, a crowd gathered near Sambhaji Circle around midnight and started shouting slogans and began pelting government and police vehicles with stones.
They reportedly resorted to violence after news broke about alleged desecration of Shivaji Maharaj's statue in Bengaluru.
Police intervened and brought the situation under control, official sources said.
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said police have been directed to take merciless action against those involved in such act, and an FIR has been registered in connection with the incidents and some arrests have been made.
"Police have been asked to see to it that such incidents don't repeat. Both Marathi and Kannada speaking people are living peacefully in Belagavi, but some miscreants are trying to disturb and vitiate the atmosphere," he said, while urging that no one should use stalwarts like Sangolli Rayaanna or Shivaji Maharaj for petty politics in the name of any community or language.
Former Chief Ministers B S Yediyurappa, Siddaramaiah, H D Kumaraswamy, also state Congress chief D K Shivakumar among others have condemned the incidents and have asked the government and police to take strict action against the miscreants.
Most of them have appealed to people to maintain peace.