Karnataka Bajrang Dal leader's murder: 12 taken into custody in Shivamogga

Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC are in force in Shivamogga.
Murdered Bajrang Dal leader Harsha
Murdered Bajrang Dal leader Harsha
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Twelve people have been taken into custody by the police in connection with the murder of a 28-year-old Bajrang Dal leader, which sparked violence in this district headquarters town of Shivamogga in Karnataka. State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said on Tuesday, February 22, "More than 12 people have been taken into custody. Interrogation is on."

The Minister said three of them have already been arrested, adding, "If they (the remaining) are involved, they will be arrested." The police have not officially declared the names of the accused. Harsha was stabbed with lethal weapons on Sunday night at Bharathi Nagar in the city allegedly by a group of men who arrived in a car.

In view of the tense situation, the district administration has declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Tuesday as well. Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC are also in force in Shivamogga.

Jnanendra told reporters in Bengaluru that a detailed investigation, encompassing all angles, including the Hijab row, role of religious outfits, funding and who provided the vehicle, is being conducted. Appealing for peace and calm, the Minister said such incidents should stop in the state. "Police have performed their duties. We appeal to people not to allow any room for disturbing peace. The government will certainly arrest the criminals and get them punishment appropriately." He also called upon the people of the state to end 'these kind of murders'.

"These kind of murders should stop and it should end with Harsha's murder. This is the commitment of the government and the police department. We are taking this case to the logical end. So, there should not be any doubt among people," the minister said.

Jnanendra said senior officers have camped in Shivamogga and were lending their special guidance to the investigation team. He also assured that those involved in stone pelting will also be brought to book.

Following the incident, the city witnessed violence, arson, stone-pelting and damage to the properties during the funeral procession on Monday that left at least three persons, including a photo journalist and a policewoman, injured. Several two-wheelers were either damaged or torched. 

Police tried to bring the situation under control by firing in the air and used lathi charge to disperse the crowd, and made way for the funeral procession to move further and the final rites to take place. 

Police personnel have been deployed at every nook and corner of the city. The district authorities have appealed to the people to maintain peace and calm. 

A few BJP leaders including Karnataka Minister KS Eshwarappa and Union Minister of state Shobha Karandlaje claimed a conspiracy behind Harsha's murder, and demanded an NIA probe into it. 

Eshwarappa, who is from the district, alleged that "Musalman goondas" are behind Harsha's murder. 

BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santosh alleged that Harsha was killed by jihadi fundamentalists for his opposition to Hijab at educational institutions.

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