The Bengaluru police have arrested seven people on Sunday, December 19, in connection with the incident where several miscreants had vandalised a statue of Chatrapati Shivaji during the night on Thursday, December 16, in Bengaluru. This move by the miscreants allegedly came after supporters of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), an organisation which has been fighting for Belagavi district to be merged with Maharashtra, burnt a Karnataka flag following war of words between MES and Kannada organisations in Belagavi.
Several miscreants, according to the police, blackened the face of a Shivaji statue located near Bashyam Circle on the night of Thursday, December 16 and later had circulated it on social media. Following the vandalism, a case had been registered against the miscreants under sections 153 (a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 120 (b) (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 3(1) (Whoever commits mischief by doing any act in respect of any public property) of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
According to police, six more miscreants who were involved in vandalism are still at large and the investigation is on to catch them. Following the blackening of the Shivaji statue, another incident had taken place in Belagavi where miscreants had vandalised a statue of Sangolli Rayanna, a prominent figure in Karnataka history who had fought the British.
Tension prevailed in Belagavi bordering Maharashtra on Saturday following the disfigurement of both the statues. Karnataka CM Bommai on Sunday appealed to people to respect iconic personalities and avoid lending ears to rumors.
"Our government will not tolerate anyone insulting the patriots and disturbing law and order in the state. Convey your sentiments peacefully. Whoever they are, we will deal with them with an iron hand," he said.