The situation In Uttara Kannada district’s Bhatkal town has turned tense as the local taluk administration removed a saffron flag and a board dedicated to Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar. On January 21, the youth set up a flag post at Tenginagundi Gram Panchayat in Bhatkal taluk, naming it after Savarkar. The incident came just a few days after massive protests were organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cadre in Mandya district's Keragodu village, where a Hanuman flag was allegedly removed by the government officials due to lack of permission.
Conflict ensued when the panchayat officials in Bhatkal demolished the flag post, leading to a few residents gathering, engaging in a verbal altercation with officials, and staging a protest. While panchayat members claimed that no permission was obtained for the flag post, local Hindutva activist Govind Naik said that residents had requested to name the flag post after Savarkar.
Following the removal, locals, BJP workers, and some grama panchayat members protested the removal along with Govind Naik. They argued that prior permission was taken from the panchayat administration before installing the board. Despite officials rejecting it, a large number of Hindu activists gathered reconstructed the flag post, pledging to hoist a flag in Savarkar's name. Tension escalated when police intervened and additional forces were deployed in the area.
Bhatkal Tahsildar Thippeswamy arrived and met the protesters. The Hindutva activists said that they would stop the protest only if all illegal boards and hoardings in the taluk were removed within two weeks. Thippeswamy agreed to the condition, and the situation has reportedly de-escalated.