Bengaluru: The Hanuman flag controversy in Keragodu village in Mandya district shows no signs of resolution, with members of pro-Hindu organisations remaining firm to hoist the flag again. BJP workers took part in a campaign, hoisting Hanuman flags on houses in Keragodu village on Saturday.
The row erupted on January 28 when the Hanuman flag on the Arjuna pillar of Keragodu village was lowered, and the tricolor was raised by the district administration. The incident triggered unrest in the village, with pro-Hindu organisation workers pledging to hoist the flag on the Arjuna pillar.
“We held a peace meeting on Friday but the meeting did not reach any decision,” Mandya deputy commissioner Dr Kumar told HT. “We will convene another meeting after February 9,” he added.
According to people aware of the matter, BJP leaders put preconditions to hoist Hanuman flag in the Keregodu flagpost to come to any decision at the peace meeting.
BJP district president Indresh led the “Hanuman dhwaja” campaign, commencing with an Anjaneyaswamy Puja in Keragodu village on Saturday. Hanuman flags were then hoisted on more than 300 houses in the village. The movement began with worship at the Anjaneya Swamy Temple near the 108-feet flagpole. The campaign also spilled over into neighbouring villages, with residents hoisting flags in solidarity.
The ongoing controversy has led to the announcement of a Mandya city bandh on February 7 and 9. On February 7, Samana Manaska Vedike has called for a bandh due to unrest in the district, while Bhajrang Dal has declared a bandh on February 9 to condemn the lowering of the Hanuman flag. However, auto drivers and traders have declared their non-participation, saying the bandhs are politically motivated.
In a related development, the All India Lawyers’ Union Mandya branch applied to the DC court, demanding a ban on flag buntings of any religion until the announcement of Lok Sabha elections. The union also urged for prohibiting individuals from making provocative speeches from entering Mandya.
“After JD(S) and BJP entered into a poll alliance, the threat to communal harmony has emerged in the district. We submitted a petition to DC to prevent untoward incidents,” union president B T Vishwanath told HT.
“We will spread the Hanuma Dhwaj andolan throughout the state after February 9,” Mandya district VHP president Bhanu Prakash Sharma told HT. “By removing the Hanuman flag, the Congress government is trying to woo a community despite the local gram panchayat permitting orally for hoisting the flag,” he added.
BJP workers on Saturday filed a complaint at the Mandya city’s West police station demanding a sedition case be filed against MP DK Suresh for his statement that a separate nation comprising south Indian states should be demanded. BJP workers picketed the house of Suresh in Bengaluru.
“BJP is twisting my statements. I did not speak about dividing the country,” Suresh told reporters. “Everyone has the right to fight. My statements are very clear. Protests are part of democracy,” he added.