Hunsur/ Mysuru: An uneasy calm prevailed in Hunsur this morning after yesterday’s showdown between the State Government and Hindu activists over the arrest of MP Pratap Simha as he tried to enter the communally sensitive town to participate in Hanuma Jayanti celebrations.
There is a heavy posse of Police, numbering over 2,500 guarding Hunsur. The Police have shifted the giant Hanuman idol that was meant for procession to a temple and have cancelled the procession.
Simha was taken into preventive custody and was released at T. Narasipur late yesterday. Over 6 persons were injured in clashes and stone pelting and more than 50 people were arrested yesterday.
Following Simha’s release, the BJP Yuva Morcha that had called for Hunsur Bandh today withdrew the bandh call and the protest scene was shifted to Mysuru where BJP activists led by MP Shobha Karandlaje protested at Gandhi Square.
After Eid-Meelad celebrations on Saturday, the Police had restricted rallies in the name of Lord Hanuman. Mysuru district Police had thrown a security cover around Hunsur and had set up 20 check-posts on all the roads leading to Hunsur.
While buses and autos plied normally and shops remained open in Hunsur this morning, about 20 percent of the shops in the areas where the clashes took place yesterday remained closed. The district administration had declared a holiday as a precautionary measure following the bandh call. As such, all educational institutions remained closed today despite the withdrawal of bandh. Students and teachers could not reach schools as the bandh was withdrawn after 8 am today.
Hanuman statue shifted
In a late night operation yesterday, a team of officials, under tight Police security, shifted the idol of Lord Hanuman that was meant to be taken in a procession. The 11-ft Panchaloha idol was placed at the Town Hall Grounds by the devotees and had planned for a procession. The Police, however, had denied permission for the procession to pass on particular routes and this had enraged Hindu activists.
The shifting operation began at around 9.30 pm and the idol was taken back to Narasimhaswamy temple from where it was brought. The official team included Assistant Commissioner Nitish Kumar, Sub-Inspector Shanmugam, Tahsildar Mohan Kumar, Municipal Commissioner Shivappa Naika.
MP Pratap Simha vents ire at Police, CM
Reacting on his arrest and subsequent release, MP Pratap Simha criticised cops for arresting him despite their failure in checking illegal cattle transportation to neighbouring Kerala, illegal sand mining and other activities. “I don’t understand why they arrested me and prevented me from attending an event. They allowed Eid-Meelad celebrations,” he said, speaking to reporters in Mysuru this morning.
“I don’t believe in “Goonda politics culture” and Mysuru Superintendent of Police Ravi D. Channannavar is acting as per the directions of State Government, his political bosses. CM Siddharamaiah, KPCC Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao and his father R. Gundu Rao all have practiced Goonda culture,” he alleged.
Organisers failed to stick to schedule, says DC
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep who is also the District Magistrate, has said that failure to stick to the scheduled time of procession and scheduled route by Hanuma Jayanti organisers caused tension in Hunsur.
He said that the procession was scheduled to begin at 10 am and did not commence even after noon. The crowd had assembled at Manjunatha Swamy Temple and intelligence reports had said that the Committee might deviate from the planned route.
“Fearing untoward incidents, we tried to disperse the mob and the Police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge,” the DC said.
“In the past, we had held several rounds of discussions with Hanuma Jayanti Committee and Eid Meelad Committee and had decided on separate routes for Hanuma Jayanti and Eid Meelad. However, members of Hanuma Committee had appealed for modifications a few days ago and we had told them that the route cannot be changed at the last minute and asked them to appeal to the Home Secretary.” Randeep said. The Committee appealed to the Home Secretary who upheld the administration’s decision, he added.