Kodava forums condemn police action, threatens protest

Several Kodava forums have objected to the case, alleging that the boys have been falsely booked under section 354, which pertains to outraging a woman's modesty.
During the assault incident at Kote Betta where two local youths allegedly attacked tourists
During the assault incident at Kote Betta where two local youths allegedly attacked touristsScreengrab

MADIKERI: Several Kodava forums in the district have condemned the recent incident where locals have been booked by the police for the alleged assault on tourists in the recent Kote Betta incident.

An organization called Jabhoomi has warned of protests if suitable legal action is not initiated against the tourists who allegedly caused violence at the tourist spot in Somwarpet taluk.

“A few tourists who are visiting Kodagu are instigating violence against the natives of the district. If appropriate legal action is not initiated by the police, a massive protest will be led to protect the interests of the native residents,” cautioned Rajeev Bopaiah, the president of the Jabhoomi forum, in a press statement.

Meanwhile, Garvale Kodava Samaj has also condemned the action by the police, alleging that they have falsely booked the locals in the Kote Betta incident reported on June 23. The ‘Support Locals’ hashtag movement has gone viral across social media platforms of various Kodava groups, demanding accountability for the tourists involved in the incident.

On Sunday, a case was registered at Somwarpet police station against two local youths who allegedly attacked tourists visiting Kote Betta. The tourists from Puttur filed a complaint alleging that two local boys assaulted them.

The accused have been booked under sections 324, 504, 506, and 354 of IPC. However, several Kodava forums have objected to the case, alleging that the boys have been falsely booked under section 354, which pertains to outraging a woman's modesty.

“The case is being politicized by giving it a communal angle. Firstly, the incident was wrongly portrayed as robbery, which was later clarified as false following a police statement. Now, the boys have been falsely booked for violence against women. The police are also threatening the family of the two boys involved in the incident,” alleged Rajeev.

He demanded that a proper investigation be conducted without yielding to political pressure and that the tourists be held accountable for the violence against the youths. “Several tourists visiting Kodagu are involved in illegal activities and the same must be curbed. If proper legal action is not initiated in the Kote Betta incident, a protest will be inevitable,” he cautioned.

Meanwhile, when questioned regarding the issue, DySP Gangadharappa clarified that the assault took place when the tourists did not give space for the accused to overtake on the narrow roads of Kote Betta. “The boys have been booked under the IPC sections based on the video evidence. The accused assaulted the tourists and hit them with helmets. During the incident, a woman’s clothes were torn, leading to the accused being booked under section 354 of IPC,” he added.

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