HUBBALLI: The police on Monday arrested a man for allegedly trying to convert a Dalit man into Christianity, while they continued the investigation into charges made by right-wing activists over forced conversions.
Late on Sunday evening, a small protest against forced conversions turned into a full-blown standoff between the police and Hindu activists. The protesters laid siege to the Navanagar police station and blocked the busy Hubballi-Dharwad road.
The activists alleged that Somu Avaradi, the arrested -- who is said to have converted to Christianity, was luring Vishwanath Boodur, belonging to Bhovi community, too to Christianity, saying he had earned a lot of money after changing his faith. Somu had asked Vishwanath to come to a prayer hall at Bhairideverakoppa on Sunday.
Hindu activists, who got the information, rushed to the spot and got into an argument with Somu. Though Somu denied their allegations, the activists beat him up and took him to the police station. As temperatures rose, Deputy Commissioner of Police Ramarajan arrived at the spot. A Hindu activist alleged that the DCP let the accused go free, triggering an intense protest. Local MLA Arvind Bellad left his campaigning at Hanagal midway, rushed to the spot and joined the protesters in the dharna.
The drama continued late into the night and right wing activists withdrew their protest only after Police Commissioner Labhu Ram assured them of taking action against the accused as well as the DCP. The Navanagar police filed a complaint against the accused under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and arrested Somu. The police commissioner too confirmed the arrest.