The controversy over the removal of a Lord Hanuman flag from a village flag post in Mandya continued to catch fire as opposition parties in Karnataka took out a ‘padayatra’ on Monday to protest against the state government’s decision on the matter.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS), which have joined hands in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of this year’s Lok Sabha election, took out protests both in Mandya as well as state capital Bengaluru, waving saffron flags in BMTC buses and raising slogans.
Their ‘padayatra’ was from the Keragodu village, where the ‘Hanuma Dhwaja’ was removed by officials, to the District Collector’s office.
A controversy erupted in the state after a Lord Hanuman flag, that was hoisted in the Keragodu village in Mandya, was removed by officials and replaced with the Indian National flag.
What CM Siddaramaiah said
“BJP is creating unnecessary issues. They had only taken permission to host the national flag and the Kannada flag. The district administration has taken action on this. Elections are coming so BJP is making this a political issue. I am a Hindu and I love all people. I believe in co-existence and tolerance,” Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar also reacted to the controversy and said that protesters are “free to do politics” but “should not take law into their hands”. “They should have basic common sense. Let them do politics, not take the law into their hands. We respect all religions. We can’t allow anyone to take the law into their hands. They want to do politics. Let them do,” He said.
Security beefed up in Mandya following Hanuman flag row
Officials ordered for heightened security to prevent any untoward incidents and religious clashes between groups. Cops also imposed Section 144 as Keragodu village saw tense atmosphere after the Hanuman flag was removed and replaced with the Indian National flag.
“On January 18, officials of Keregodu Gram Panchayat issued the permission letter with conditions that only the national flag would be hoisted,” Karnataka IT/BT and Rural Development & Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister, Priyank Kharge, said on the matter.
(With inputs from ANI)