Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday told the media that more than 40 miscreants have been arrested in connection with the stone-pelting incident in Shivamogga and that cases have been booked against them.
Tension prevailed in Ragigudda near Shantinagar area of Shivamogga city in Karnataka on Sunday night after stone pelting took place during an Eid Milad procession.
A mob reportedly threw stones at a few houses and vehicles, damaging them, and injuring several people during the religious procession. Six people, including two policemen, sustained injuries and were taken to the district hospital.
Rapid Action Force (RAF) teams rushed to the spot and police teams resorted to mild lathi charge to quell and disperse the mob.
Later, prohibitory orders were imposed in some parts of the city under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
What triggered the violence?
Earlier on Sunday, there were protests in the area over the police covering a cutout of erstwhile Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan with a curtain, as he was allegedly shown killing warriors wearing saffron clothes. Some reports said that paint had been smeared on the ruler's cutout. Following the police's action, people of a community had protested in Ragigudda.
Shivamogga Superintendent of Police GK Mithun Kumar had gone to the spot and had held talks with the protestors to reassure them. However, the situation escalated, and the stone-pelting incident ensued, although the exact sequence of events has not been confirmed and remains unclear.
Some media reports said that there were rumours of stones being pelted at the procession by outsiders in a different location which led to some people in the Ragi Gudda area to begin pelting stones at the procession in their area.
“Some miscreants pelted stones during the Eid Milad procession. Some vehicles and houses were damaged. Based on the video and information, some people have already been arrested in connection with the incident. Section 144 has been imposed in the area as a precautionary measure. A case has been registered. The situation is now under control, apart from Shanti Nagar and Ragi Gudda. Strict action will be taken against the culprits,” SP GK Mithun Kumar told ANI.
Police have also urged locals to refrain from spreading rumours on social media platforms.
Things are under control now: CM
The situation in Shivamogga is now peaceful and the police are taking all measures to maintain peace, CM Siddaramaiah said.
Creating disturbance and indulging in stone pelting during religious events of a community is against the law, and his government won't tolerate such incidents and will suppress them, he told media.
Meanwhile, Home Minister G Parameshwara told PTI that all suspects have been taken into custody while terming it a minor stone pelting incident.
To a question on reports that some miscreants wearing masks had indulged in stone pelting, the minister said they have been arrested now. "Aware that anything may happen during the procession as it (Shivamogga) is a tense area, forces including RAF were deployed in advance, so we could control it from spiralling into a big incident," G Parameshwara told PTI.
Shivamogga BJP MLA S N Channabasappa visited houses in the Ragi Gudda area that were damaged due to the stone pelting. He alleged the role of outsiders. "Shivamogga has become a haven for those who want to spread terror," Channabasappa told PTI.
Karnataka BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel too claimed that terror activities were going on in Shivamogga and criticised the Congress government for failing to maintain law and order.
At least 12 platoons of District Armed Reserve (DAR), two platoons of RAF, and two platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), and 2,500 police officials have been deputed across the communally sensitive city.
28-year-old Harsha, an activist of the right-wing outfit Bajrang Dal was murdered in Shivamogga in February 2022. The city also witnessed a series of stabbing incidents over the erection of banners and posters of controversial freedom fighter Veer Savarkar.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI, IANS)