Siddalinga Swamy, the head of Karuneshwara Mutt in Jevargi taluk of Kalaburgi district, and honorary president of Sri Ram Sene, was arrested on Monday night on charges of assaulting a person belonging to a minority community.
Following a complaint lodged by Nizamuddian, a case was registered against the mutt head on October 14. Siddaling was on the run ever since to avoid arrest. When he returned to the mutt on Monday, police officials lead by Superintendent of Police N. Shashi Kumar went to the mutt and took him into custody, according to a report in The Hindu.
However, as news of the impending arrest spread, people from different villages in Jevargi taluk arrived in tractors and opposed the arrest of the Mutt head. Having heated arguments with the police, the people opposing attempted to deter the police from carrying out the arrest, but the police managed to hold them off and whisked the accused away into custody.
Later, another group of people stopped the police vehicle carrying the accused at Kellur Cross and threw stones. The police led a mild lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. Four policemen including the Assistant SP Lokesh Kumar were injured in the incident while vehicles were also damaged. The local magistrate remanded the accused in judicial custody for ten days.
Speaking to The Hindu, SS Hullur, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Rural), said that the accused was facing a couple of other cases, including one for delivering a hate speech during the Ganesh festival targeting a religious community with the intent of disturbing communal harmony in society.
â€śHowever, he [Siddalinga Swamy] had obtained bail in the earlier cases. We arrested him in a latest case in which he was charged with assaulting the complainant and demolishing his small hotel in Andola village,â€ť he said.
Police registered three cases and made 39 arrests related to the violent incident. Sri Rama Sene had earlier warned against the arrest of the Mutt head with State Secretary Gangadhar Kulkarni saying that there will be â€śdire consequencesâ€ť.