Freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna’s statue was vandalised here and miscreants targeted government vehicles by pelting stones following claims that a statue of Shivaji Maharaj was desecrated in Bengaluru. Condemning the incidents that occurred on Friday night as unruly, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai directed Home Minister Araga Jnanendra to take strict action against those trying to disturb peace and police sources said so far 27 people have been arrested in connection with both the matters.
While the incidents brought back memories of acrimony witnessed in the past over the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra over Belagavi, the Home Minister said police have been directed to take stringent action. With Belagavi playing host to the winter session of Karnataka legislature, police, clamped prohibitory order under the CrPC following the two separate incidents. The order is applicable for both the city and taluk areas of Belagavi with effect from 8 AM on Saturday and till 6 PM on Sunday. Speaking to reporters in Hubballi, the CM said, ”Incidents like stone pelting, causing damage to public property and government vehicles is illegal, so police have been directed to take long term measures, so that such incidents don’t recur.” Defacing or desecrating statues of national heroes and patriotic leaders was not right, Bommai said adding such leaders belonged to all communities and need to be respected.
Responding to a question, he said, ”several other factors including the timing of the incident when the legislature session is on, will all be part of the investigation.” President of Sangolli Rayanna Sene Shivaraj Holimath on Saturday complained to the Tilakwadi police that the Sangolli Rayanna’s statue that was not yet installed and kept in front of his house at Angol in south Belagavi was damaged.
He has alleged that some unknown people caused damage to the statue on Friday night and they sped when he raised an alarm.
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According to police, the statue has been shifted to Tilakwadi police station and security beefed up.
Earlier in an incident in North Belagavi, a crowd gathered near Sambhaji Circle around midnight, and shouted slogans and pelted government and police vehicles with stones.
They reportedly resorted to violence following allegations of desecration of Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in Bengaluru. Police intervened and brought the situation under control, official sources said.
Araga Jnanendra said an FIR has been registered in connection with the incidents and some arrests have been made.
”Police have been asked to see to it that such incidents don’t repeat. Both Marathi and Kannada speaking people are living peacefully in Belagavi, but some miscreants are trying to disturb and vitiate the atmosphere,” he said No one should use stalwarts like Sangolli Rayaanna or Shivaji Maharaj for petty politics in the name of any community or language, the Home Minister said. Former Chief Ministers B S Yediyurappa, Siddaramaiah, H D Kumaraswamy, state Congress chief D K Shivakumar condemned the incidents and sought action against the miscreants and appealed to people to maintain peace.