CBI probe sought into Soujanya case

As the fight for justice for the rape and murder of Saujanya, a PUC student at SDM College in Ujire, intensified, a massive crowd of over 35,000 people assembled at the Belthangady taluk grounds on Friday, urging the authorities concerned to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In what probably was one of the biggest protests the district has witnessed in recent times, protesters led by Praja Prabhuthva Vedike of the Belthangady taluk not only demanded the handing over of Saujanya’s case to the CBI, but also that the Supreme Court intervene and direct the handover of all 450 unnatural death cases reported in Dharmasthala, including that of school teacher Vedavalli Harale and Padmalatha, to the CBI.

Presiding over the protest, social activist Mahesh Shetty Thimarodi, who has been at the forefront of the agitation, said people have lost hope in political leaders, and justice in the case could be obtained only with the Supreme Court’s intervention. 
“People of Belthangady, who had maintained silence for a long time over the bad incidents in the taluk, have now come forward openly, opposing the forces that have destroyed Saujanya’s life. The police department has shown a lack of activeness in solving Saujanya’s murder case,” he alleged. Littérateur and activist Amritha Shetty Atrady, too, slammed the police department for not investigating the over-100 suicides that have taken place in the lodges of Dharmasthala. 

“If such suicide cases happen elsewhere, don’t the police interrogate lodge owners and take action? But what action have they taken regarding the incidents of unnatural death reported in Dharmasthala?” she asked.

Kemaru Sandeepini Mutt seer Vittaldas clarified that their fight was not against any individual or religious organisation, but against those who had brutally killed the teenage Saujanya.  He warned of yet another massive protest if the case was not handed over the CBI at the earliest. Saujanya’s mother, who participated in the protest, could not control her tears while recalling the last time she spoke to her daughter. 

“Those who murdered my daughter are no less than devils. I never thought my daughter would meet such a painful end,” she said.

Most of the shops in Ujire, Belthangady and other smaller towns were closed on Friday in support of the protest.

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