Keragodu Hanuma Dhwaja row: Police resort to lathi-charge as protest turns violent
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Keragodu Hanuma Dhwaja row: Police resort to lathi-charge as protest turns violent

January 30, 2024

Mandya: Strongly condemning the removal of Hanuma Dhwaja (Hanuma Flag) at Keragodu in Mandya taluk late on Saturday night and the Police lathi-charge that ensued, hundreds of BJP, JD(S) workers and scores of Hindu activists took out a massive padayatra to Mandya yesterday.

The Padayatra, which began with the performance of Puja at Keragodu Anjaneyaswamy Temple at 8 am, culminated at the Mandya DC’s office covering a distance of 15 kms. The entire Padayatra route was covered with saffron hues, with banners, buntings, flexes etc., dotting the route. Several houses along the route were seen adorned with Hanuma Dhwaja.

The Padayatra passed through Hulivana, Kommerahalli, Satanur, Chikkamandya, Kalikamba Temple and Nanda Circle before touching the Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway. The Padayatra culminated at the Mandya DC’s office, where the protesters submitted a memorandum to DC Dr. Kumara. En route, the protesters tore off the flexes and posters of Mandya Congress MLA Ganiga Ravikumar, whom the Hindu activists blamed of fomenting trouble.

After reaching Mandya, the protesters lit fire to the posters of CM Siddaramaiah,  Mandya District in-Charge Minister N. Cheluvarayaswamy and MLA Ganiga Ravikumar at Nanda Circle and Mahaveera Circle in the town. Soon the Police rushed to the spot to douse the fire, when the protesters entered into a verbal duel with the Police. The Police had to resort to mild lathi-charge to disperse the restive crowd.

Later, the protesters sat on the Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway and raised slogans against the Government. As the Highway was blocked for more than half an hour, vehicles lined up on both sides of the busy Highway and vehicles could be seen stranded for over 3 kms on either side of the road.

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Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who wore a saffron shawl, former Minister C.T. Ravi and other BJP and JD(S) leaders addressed the protesters and demanded that the Government take back the curfew in Keragodu.

Former Ministers C.T. Ravi, C.S. Puttaraju and D.C. Thammanna, MLAs Gali Janardhan Reddy and H.T. Manju, former MLAs K. Sureshgowda, Dr. K. Annadani, K.C. Narayanagowda and Preetam Gowda, leaders B.R. Ramachandra, M.S. Raghunandan, D. Ramesh, C.P. Umesh, Dr. Indresh, Muniraju, Chandagalu Shivanna, Induvalu Sachhidananda, S.P. Swamy, Dr. Siddaramaiah, K.S. Nanjundegowda, Ashok Jayaram, Lakshmi Ashwin Gowda and others took part in the protest.

A large posse of Policemen were deployed at vantage points to prevent any violence. Meanwhile, the prohibitory orders clamped in Keragodu following Sunday’s violence, continued for the second day on Monday. Shops and other establishments remained shut for the second day on Monday and the weekly fair at Keragodu scheduled for Monday too was cancelled.

Keragodu PDO suspended

Amidst the violence that broke out in Keragodu following the removal of Hanuma Dhwaja by the authorities late on Saturday night, the Government on Monday suspended Keragodu Gram Panchayat PDO B.M. Jeevan on five counts of dereliction of duty and lapses.

Jeevan is accused of permitting Sri Gowrishankar Seva Trust, a private Trust, for construction of  flagpost in a Government space in violation of rules and regulations. The other charges against him include allowing the hoisting of a religious flag in violation of the terms and conditions put forth, failure to take action even though the religious flag was blatantly hoisted instead of the national flag, failure to take immediate action when the matter was brought to his notice and being directly responsible for the protest, confusions and breakdown of law and order that ensued at Keragodu when the Mandya SP, Assistant Commissioner, Tahsildar and other Government officials came to the spot on Jan. 28 for removal of the religious flag, according to Mandya ZP CEO Shaikh Tanveer Asif.

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