Several progressive organisations in Karnataka have called for a bandh in Mandya district on February 7 to diffuse communal tension in Keragodu village, which flared up after a Hanuman flag was removed from a flag post recently. The announcement comes after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (Secular) carried out a padayatra from Keragodu to Mandya on January 29 and declared a bandh on February 9.
Samana Manaskara Vedike, the forum of progressive organisations, has urged secular and peace-loving public to support the bandh and join them in promoting peace and harmony. Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samithi, Karunada Sevakara Sanghatane, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) have already expressed their solidarity.
Lakshman Cheeranahally, convenor of the Vedike, told The Hindu that the bandh on February 7 would send a message that the people of Mandya will uphold peace in the district by opposing vested interests. Addressing the media, MB Nagannagowda of Samana Manaska Vedike said there have been efforts to tarnish the progressive culture in the district by projecting trivial issues and causing disharmony.
Condemning the alleged pelting of stones on a hostel run by the Kuruba community during the BJP’s padayatra, the Vedike urged the district administration to arrest those behind the attack. On January 28, the Hanuman flag on a 108-foot flagpole was removed by the district administration citing that the only permission that was given was to hoist the national flag.