MP drives through barricades en route to violence-hit Hunsur

Police take Pratap Simha into custody, clamp prohibitory orders in town

MP drives through barricades en route to violence-hit Hunsur

Mysuru/Kalaburagi/Bengaluru: Police took Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha into custody when he tried to enter the town by driving his car into the barricades at Bilikere near Hunsur in Mysuru district on Sunday.

Earlier, violence erupted in the town in connection with the procession organised by pro-Hindu organisations to mark Hanuma Jayanti. The police resorted to mild lathi charge to bring the situation under control. The procession was cancelled due to the violence.

Trouble started when the police did not allow entry for the procession on the route chosen by the organisers. As Eid Milad was celebrated on Saturday, the police had identified a specific route for the Hanuma Jayanti procession.

According to the police, the taluk administration had given permission to take out a procession from the Hanuman temple to the Hunsur municipal office. But the organisers decided to take the procession towards Ranganath Layout and also did not begin it on time. So, the police denied permission to take out the procession. Angered by this, devotees held a protest in front of the Hanuman temple.

The organisers changed the route route on Sunday morning. The district administration had clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the town from Saturday, except on the identified procession route.

In the meantime, Simha was on his way from Mysuru to Hunsur. The police stopped the MP near Bilikere on the Mysuru-Hunsur Road, asking him not to head further due to the
tense situation. But Pratap Simha did not listen to the police. He took the driver's seat of his vehicle, hit the barricades and headed towards Hunsur. However, the police stopped him from entering Hunsur town and took him into custody.

The Bilikere police booked Simha under various sections of the IPC for obstructing policemen from performing their duty, rash and negligent driving. About 300 others were also taken into custody.

Supporters of the MP, who gathered in front of the temple, staged a protest demanding that the MP be released. Police had to resort to mild caning to disperse the crowd. The angered mob threw stones on the official vehicle of Superintendent of Police Ravi D Channannavar and on three KSRTC buses. A woman and two police constables were injured in the stone pelting.

Union Minister of State for Skill Development Ananth Kumar Hegde, who visited the town in the noon, condemned the arrest of Simha.

In Kalaburagi, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa demanded that Simha should be released immediately. He said Siddaramaiah government was resorting to politics of vengeance.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah charged the BJP with trying to incite communal unrest ahead of the Assembly elections.

"Is it proper for an MP to defy prohibitory orders?. Is it proper for an elected representative to take the law into his hands," he asked, defending the police action.

"We also celebrate Hanuman Jayanthi and Krishna Jayanthi. But the BJP leaders are politicising these celebrations. People can see through this communal politics," he told reporters in Bengaluru.

The Mysuru deputy commissioner has sent a report on the violence to the chief minister, the chief secretary and also one to the Lok Sabha speaker.

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