HUBBALLI: Twelve police personnel were injured and seven police vehicles were damaged after thousands of people, protesting over a social media post that hurt their religious sentiments, went berserk and attacked a police station on Saturday night. In all, 87 people have been arrested for the riots, and more are likely to be picked up. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been clamped across the city and additional police forces have been deployed to prevent any further untoward incidents.
It was a scene of complete chaos in this commercial hub late on Saturday night as crowds ran through the streets in the dead of the night attacking policemen, private property and public vehicles. The trigger was the derogatory post by Abhishek Hiremath (24), on his social media account. Members of a community filed a complaint and immediately, the police arrested Abhishek from his residence at Anand Nagar and brought him to the Old Hubballi police station. Soon, a large crowd gathered at the police station, demanding that the police hand over the accused to them.
The police tried to pacify the crowd saying the law will take its course, but the protesters went berserk, throwing stones at the police station and their vehicles. They turned off the high-mast streetlight, adding to the chaos.
They also targeted a religious place and a hospital located near the police station. The crowd divided itself and started attacking the police from different directions. The policemen fired nine times in the air, lobbed teargas shells and fired rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.
Hubballi Police Commissioner Labhu Ram said, “We are also investigating how such a large number of stones were collected during the protest. More arrests are likely. We are also getting reports of private vehicles being damaged and public being injured.”
Police conduct route march
Additional police forces from other districts have been deployed to prevent any further incidents. On Sunday, platoons of RAF and armed police personnel conducted a route march in sensitive areas of the city. Dharwad Deputy Commissioner Nitesh Patil visited the Old Hubballi police station and held a meeting with top officials.
Patil said that the arrests are being carried out based on the CCTV footage and other evidence available. “The situation is under control and prohibitory orders will be in place till further orders,” he added. “Though the police had arrested the person who had posted a social media post, some people assembled in front of a police station and incited trouble,” CM Basavaraj Bommai said.
85 arrested following clashes in Kurnool
As many as 85 people were arrested following clashes when a Shobha Yatra was being taken out at Holagunda village in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district late on Saturday. When the procession was passing by a place of worship, some miscreants pelted stones, injuring five persons. “An inquiry has been initiated and people from both the sides booked,” said SP Ch Sudheer Kumar Reddy.