Amidst the ongoing tension in Karnataka's border town of Belagavi, miscreants vandalised a statue of local freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna, the police said, adding that the incident came to light on Saturday, December 18. Karnataka police on Saturday said it has arrested 27 persons in connection with the incident of violence in Belagavi. The miscreants have been produced before the court and sent to judicial custody.
The police are suspecting the role of the violent mob involved in the flash protest staged on Friday midnight against the desecration of a Shivaji statue in Bengaluru's communally sensitive Shivajinagar locality.
The police department has collected CCTV footage of the violence and booked cases against more than 100 persons. Sources said that the police are likely to make more arrests.
Prohibitory orders are clamped in Belagavi and security has been beefed up across the city following flash protests condemning desecration of the statue of Shivaji Maharaj in Bengaluru, Shivajinagar area. The protest took place after the video went viral. The protest turned violent as mob indulged in stone pelting and damaged police vehicles. Later, the incident of vandalizing of the statue of the local freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna has come to light complicating things further.
The authorities have clamped prohibitory orders in Belagavi till Sunday 6 am. Police sources said that the statue of Sangolli Rayanna installed at Kanakadasa colony has been uprooted. Its sword and shield were also broken and thrown away. However, after the locals came out on hearing the noise, the miscreants ran away.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has condemned the incident of vandalizing freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna's statue in Belagavi. He said, "I have given strict instructions to the police department to initiate action against culprits and ensure that such acts do not repeat. Statues are installed to respect the personalities, insulting them is condemnable," he said.
Meanwhile, Kannada organisations across Karnataka have declared that they would stage protests across the state and will organise 'Belagavi Chalo' march to condemn the incident of vandalizing the statue of Sangolli Rayanna.
Reacting to the situation, state Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said: "We will instill fear among the miscreants. You will see proper action by the police this time. There is no question of sparing anyone, there is going to be action against them. It is the handiwork of a few miscreants. We will tame them."
The police have booked cases against over 100 agitators in connection with the incident of violence in the city at three police stations. The case has also been booked for creating disharmony on the basis of language along with other charges.
During the protest on Friday midnight, the demonstrators resorted to stone pelting targeting police personnel and government vehicles. As many as 20 vehicles, including police jeeps, were damaged in the incident on Friday night, triggering the police to resort to lathi charge against the violent mob.
The winter session of Karnataka State Assembly is currently underway in the border after two years and the entire government machinery has been shifted from Bengaluru to Belagavi.
Karnataka police are suspecting the role of Maharashtra Ekikarana Samithi (MES) party leaders in creating disturbance during the session.