Earlier, Bajrang Dal had claimed that 'Muslim communalists' were responsible

In a twist Bajrang Dal activist arrested for murder that group had blamed others for
news Communal Tension Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 21:34

In a development that is likely to add to the tension in Mangaluru, a Bajrang Dal activist has been arrested for an attack that killed a Hindu youth and left his Muslim friend grievously injured. After the youth’s death, the Bajrang Dal had blamed “Muslim communalists” for the attack.

Bajrang Dal activist Bhuvith Shetty (25) and Achyut (28) have been arrested for the murder of Harish Poojary and the assault on his friend Samiullah, IGP Western Range Amrit Paul said in a press conference on Thursday.

In a rare comment on the record from a senior police officer, Paul told the media: “I have never experienced a situation like that of Dakshina Kannada elsewhere (in the state). Here, people kill without reason, going by the religion of a person. They kill without even if they have no quarrel with that person.”

Shetty had caught public attention on August 30, the day writer MM Kalburgi was murdered in his house in Dharwad. Shetty had tweeted that another writer KS Bhagwan was “next”. Although he deleted the tweet within hours, it landed him in jail the following day after the police registered a case suo moto. He was already facing a case of attempt to murder, for assaulting a cattle-transporter with sharp weapons.

Read: After Kalburgi, Bajrang Dal activist tells another scholar he's next, deletes tweet and says sorry

Harish and Samiullah were attacked with sharp weapons in Bantwal, a town approximately 30 km from Mangaluru, on the evening of November 12. Police are on the lookout for other accused.

Paul said that Harish and Samiullah were attacked in the wake of unrest earlier in the day. In a press release, the police said that on the day of the attack, instances of stone-pelting had been reported from several places in Bantwal town following an SDPI rally. SDPI members had assembled to protest against the violence on Tipu Jayanti in Madikeri, Kodagu district. During the rally, SDPI leader Hanif Khan had made “provocative statements” for which he was subsequently booked. Later, after the rally, while they were submitted a memorandum to the Tahsildar, some miscreants pelting stones at them, following which the SDPI members too threw stones.

When it became known that Harish died on the way to a hospital in Mangaluru, Bajrang Dal called for a district-wide bandh and the district administration invoked prohibitory orders to avoid trouble. Harish’s last rites were performed in Navoor village amid a gathering of around 4,000 people, according to police estimates.

These developments are likely to cause further tension in the district, which has seen intermittent violence since August 30, the day writer MM Kalburgi was murdered. 

(This story has been updated)

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