Hindutva extremist Puneeth Kerehalli was booked by the police on Saturday, December 24, for allegedly picking a fight over Christmas decorations at Mall of Asia in Byatarayanapura. Kodigehalli police have registered a case against Puneeth and four others based on a complaint filed by the security agent at the mall. He has several cases against him across various police stations in Karnataka, including one under Goondas Act.
According to reports, Puneeth and four others had gone to the Mall of Asia on Saturday and questioned a 38-year-old security agent about who was managing the mall. Puneeth and his aides asked why the mall was decorated with a Christmas tree despite being located in a “Hindu nation”. He demanded that they decorate the mall on January 22, 2024, when the Ayodhya temple is slated to be inaugurated. The security agent also alleged that he and the other visitors were threatened by the gang, saying they would stop the Christmas celebrations on December 25 and New Year celebrations on December 31.
A News9live report said that the five have been booked under sections 505 (intent to incite or likely to incite any class or community of people to commit an offense), 506 (criminal intimidation), 341 (wrongful restraint), 143 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and other relevant sections.
Puneeth Kerehalli, who is a known cow vigilante, is associated with the far-right Hindutva group Rashtra Rakshana Pade. He intercepts cattle transport vehicles and proudly publicises them as acts of ‘rescue’. Puneeth was the main suspect in the murder of Idrees Pasha, a cattle transporter.