Bengaluru/Belagavi: A three-day prohibition under Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed on Tuesday in several parts of Karnataka. The move came after multiple incidents of stone pelting, protests and police interventions were reported during the consecration ceremony celebrations of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The prohibition will remain in effect until 6 am on January 25, with exceptions given for essential services like hospitals and medicine.
The cities where curbs have been imposed include Gulbarga’s Wadi town which is the constituency of rural development and panchayat raj minister, Priyank Kharge.
Kalaburgi too witnessed a turmoil when the police intervened to halt the procession of the Ram idol organised by the Ram Utsav Samiti, part of the Prana Pratishta of Ram Lalla at the Ayodhya Ram Temple.
Upon approaching the bus stand, the procession of devotees saw some youths entering a restaurant owned by Zahoor Khan. They allegedly shouted slogans of “Jai Sri Ram” and attempted to forcefully close the restaurant.
“Subsequently, a large gathering of Muslim youths gathered at the location, escalating the situation. Police intervened and defused the situation. In a preventive measure, Section 144 has been enforced throughout the city,” said a police officer.
Against this backdrop, Chittapur tehsildar Syed Shashavali, responding to the request of local police sub-inspector Tirumalesha Kumbara, imposed Section 144 on Monday.
In Belagavi, three areas, deemed communally hypersensitive, experienced incidents of stone pelting and police intervention. The unsettling events unfolded around 10.30 pm on Monday on Fort Road, Darbar Galli, and near the Head Post Office Circle in the Market police sub-division. No injuries or property damage were reported during the incident.
Addressing the media, Market sub-division assitant commissioner of police P Sadashiiv Kattimani said, “Stone pelting incidents occurred on Fort Road and Darbar Galli, involving groups from both religions near the Post Office Circle in Market and Khade Bazar police station limits under Market sub-division on Monday night.”
Market police inspector Mahantesh Damannavar said, additional police force was deployed on Fort Road and Darbar Galli and the situation was brought under control. The incidents prompted the deployment of reserve forces to both locations, with appeals made to the public to disperse.
The affected areas, densely populated by Muslim communities, witnessed stone pelting instigated by provocative celebration chants and the bursting of firecrackers on adjacent roads. An anonymous member of the business class, operating establishments open at night, said, “Youths celebrating forcibly entered localities, removing barricades on roads, chanting, and bursting firecrackers, causing untoward incidents,” said a police officer.
Belagavi DCP PV Sneha said, “Over a hundred youths were taking rounds, chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ on roads linking to the Post Office Circle. Despite police instructions, celebratory groups opted for the roads with chanting, resulting in stone pelting from a location behind Hotel Anupam.”
Witnesses, speaking anonymously, said, those celebrating near Patil Maala responded in kind to the location from where stones were being thrown. To curb the escalating situation, the police on duty resorted to caning, dispersing both groups engaged in stone pelting. The group that resisted appeals and instructions left the scene after the use of lathis.
(With inputs from Hirekop Rajan Samuel)