Taslima article sparks riot; 2 killed in police firing in Shimoga
Violence hits Hassan too
Communal violence erupted in Shimoga and Hassan, in the Malnad region of Karnataka on Monday, resulting in the death of two persons in police firing.
Riotous incidents across the two cities were sparked off by protests by the minority community against a controversial article, by Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, published in a Kannada daily in its Sunday edition.
Scores of people were injured in incidents of stabbing and large scale stone-throwing.
The article, about the purported views of Nasreen on the purdah system, led to protest marches in the two cities by Muslims, prompting retaliatory demonstrations by a section of Hindus.
The counter-protests, parades and demonstrations worsened the situation and the violence went into a spiral as mobs from various parts of the towns took to the streets, burning police vehicles, smashing cars, stoning buildings and causing damage to public property.
Curfew was imposed on Shimoga and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC was clamped on Hassan.
The Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences postponed the scheduled examinations in the Faculty of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Science throughout the State in view of the situation in the two districts. New dates would be notified later.
Sadiq (23) and Latif (25) died of bullet injuries in Shimoga when the police tried to quell the group violence. East range IGP Satyanarayan Rao issued shoot-at-sight orders and curfew was imposed on the town till the evening of March 3.
Vehicles parked along B H Road and Nehru Road were targeted by miscreants. A KSRTC bus, two four-wheelers and 20 two-wheelers were badly damaged in the incident. A mob ransacked and set fire to shops at Amir Ahmed Circle and Shivappa Nayaka Circle areas of the city.
Two multi-storied buildings were badly damaged as shops located in them were set ablaze.
Thousands of people gathered at Wakf Board premises on Sir M V Road in the morning to protest against the article. A procession taken out turned violent near B H Road as a KSRTC bus was stoned. Police resorted to mild lathi-charge to quell the mob.
At Shivappa Nayaka Circle, the mob vented its wrath on shops. Stones were thrown at the procession and a group clash ensued. Two-wheelers parked along Nehru Road and B H Road were set ablaze. Police lobbed teargas shells and then opened fire at the the mob, resulting in the death of two persons.
Violence again re-erupted in the evening and shops were looted along Kote Road, Gandhi Bazaar, Nehru Road and surrounding areas. Incidents of looting, torching and stabbing were reported from extensions in city outskirts. The office of a newspaper group which had published the article was attacked.
The district administration declared education institutions closed on Tuesday. Buses bound for the city plied on alternative routes as burning tyres blocked roads at several places.
Similarly in Hassan, as many as 14 persons including five policemen and a woman were injured when miscreants resorted to stone throwing on Monday, in protests against the article. The mob set fire to 43 petty shops, three autorickshaws and 17 two-wheelers. Two places of worships were also targeted.
Police have imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrpC on the entire city for next three days. Seven persons have been arrested.
The violence began when hundreds of people took out a procession to protest against the article. The processionists threw stones at shops and set fire to two-wheelers and other vehicles parked on roads. The police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the mob.
People belonging to other community also resorted to strike protesting against the violence. Violence spread to other areas and the police had a tough time bring the situation under control.
When the mob torched parked vehicles, police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to a lathi-charge. Several people including policemen were injured in stone-throwing.
Cases booked against dailies
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Monday said the Bangalore police have booked cases against two dailies –– one Kannada and another Urdu –– for publishing articles which led to violent protests in Shimoga and Hassan, reports DHNS from Bangalore. The chief minister said the dailies had already expressed regret for publishing the articles.