Lit fest begins at Sringeri amid row over prez

Police pacify protesters at the venue of Chikkamagaluru district-level Kannada Sahitya Sammelana, which began in Sringeri on Friday. dh photo

The district Kannada Sahitya Sammelana began in Sringeri on Friday in tight police security amid controversy over selection of the president for the literary festival.

Some organisations and the district in-charge minister C T Ravi had opposed the selection of Kalkuli Vittala Hegde as the Sammelana president, alleging that Hegde had been a supporter of naxals. Kannada Sahitya Parishat had refused to release funds for the event.

Anticipating trouble, a posse of policemen was deployed at the venue - BGS Community Hall - in Sringeri. The organisers did not bother about police advisory not to use loudspeaker for the event. 
MLA Raje Gowda inaugurated the Sammelana. 

Meanwhile, a group of people raised slogans at the Hegde at the venue and the police took all the protesters into custody. Slogan shouting continued even as Hegde delivered his presidential address.

The police deployed at the entrance allowed participants inside only after a thorough check. All the vehicles heading to Sringeri were checked thoroughly by the police. 

District in-charge Minister C T Ravi did not take part in the Sammelana. Deputy Commissioner Bagadi Gautham and SP Harish Pande had camped in Sringeri. 

Following the Sringeri
Chalo call given by Naxal Virodhi Horata Samithi, all the shops and business establishments remained closed in the morning. 

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