The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Friday, February 9, warned the Karnataka government that if the Hanuman flag that was removed in Mandya's Keragodu village is not reinstated, there will be “consequences”. VHP leader Sharan Pumpwell threatened to launch a state-wide agitation called "Keragodu Chalo", warning that VHP and Bajrang Dal members would protest and hold the government responsible for any "consequences."
He said, “All members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal will congregate in Keragodu. Through this protest, I'd like to warn the state government, that if you don't give permission to reinstate the Hanuman flag in Keragodu, we will take our agitation across the state. Not just that, in the coming days, we will launch 'Keragodu Chalo.' The state government would be responsible for the consequences."
Sharan further accused the Congress government of removing the flag "for appeasing some people for vote bank politics.” "Today, the recital of Hanuman Chalisa was done in every district of the state. The Hanuman flag was removed all of a sudden following the orders of CM Siddaramaiah. The flag used to be hoisted there for decades without controversy. But Congress, for the appeasement of some people, for vote bank, have removed the Hanuman flag. VHP condemns this and through this protest, we demand that the flag be reinstated,” he said.
The issue revolves around a flagpole in Keragodu village. On January 22, a saffron flag with a Hanuman image was hoisted on the newly installed pole. Three days later, it was lowered, and the national flag was raised for Republic Day. On January 26 evening, the national flag was taken down again, and the saffron flag reappeared. However, some district officials objected to this, and the situation escalated on January 28 when a team of district officials, accompanied by the police, attempted to remove the saffron flag. Despite their efforts, they faced difficulties in reinstalling the national flag due to the pole's electronic operation, requiring a key for adjustment. The Gram Panchayat officials reportedly withheld the key, causing a delay in restoring the national flag. Eventually, around 2:30-3:00 pm, the national flag was successfully raised after interventions by authorities.
Following this, workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal (Secular), and Bajrang Dal staged continuous protests on Monday, January 29, along with activists linked to other political parties. Heavy security measures and Section 144 had been imposed in the area.
TNM travelled to Keragodu and reported on how Hindutva ideology is breaking fresh ground and is being amplified by the BJP’s new ally, Janata Dal (Secular)’s ground network. Read the reportage here: In Karnataka’s Mandya, JD(S) is Hindutva’s force multiplier