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The Hanuman flag row in Mandya: What we know so far | Bengaluru

The Hanuman flag row in Mandya: What we know so far | Bengaluru post thumbnail image

The controversy over the removal of a Lord Hanuman flag from a village flag post in Mandya continued to spiral in the southern state of Karnataka, leading to protests by opposition parties. Here’s what we know about the incident so far.

Protests continued in Mandya over the Lord Hanuman flag row.(ANI)

How the Hanuman flag row started

The row erupted on Sunday after a Lord Hanuman flag, that was hoisted in the Keragodu village in Mandya, was removed and replaced with the Indian National flag by officials. Authorities maintained that the Keregodu Gram Panchayat had issued a permission letter on January 18 with conditions that only the national flag could be hoisted.

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ALSO READ | Karnataka village tense after Hanuman flag removed; police use force to quell unrest

Security heightened

Following the removal of the saffron flag, cops imposed preventative restrictions and heightened security in the district by deploying a large number of police personnel, making for a tense atmosphere. Cops also imposed Section 144 to prevent untoward incidents and religious clashes between groups.

Political slugfest, protests ensue

However, the incident led to a political slugfest in the state, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) condemning the state government’s decision to remove the “Hanuma Dhwaja”. Leaders from the saffron party also hit out at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, calling him “anti Hindu” and “anti Hanuma Dwaja”.

A protest ensued in Mandya over the matter on Sunday, after which police resorted to mild lathi charge to disperse the crowd. Cops also erected barricades around the flagpole and installed CCTV cameras to keep a check on the area.

Following this, the BJP along with the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) also took out protest rallies both in Mandya as well as state capital Bengaluru on Monday. Both the parties have joined hands in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of this year’s Lok Sabha election.

Leaders and party workers were seen waving saffron flags in BMTC buses and raising slogans, visuals shared by news agency ANI showed. Following this, several protestors including Jayanagar MLC CK Ramamurthy were detained, as no permission was granted to stage a protest at the site, police said.

ALSO READ | ‘I am Hindu and I love…’: CM Siddaramaiah on controversy over Lord Hanuman flag in Mandya

What the BJP says

BY Vijayendra, the state BJP chief, spoke on the matter and said, “When the Gram Panchayat Board decided to hoist the Hanuman flag on a 108-foot-high flagpole in the village of Keragodu in Mandya district, the state government showed the audacity to bring down the flag through the police force. It is the Congress government in the state that is deteriorating the law and order situation in the state.”

Senior leader and former CM Basavaraj Bommai also addressed the issue, saying, “The government got the Hanuman flag removed through the police officers. While Chief Minister Siddaramaiah chants the mantra of “Sarva Janangada Shanthiya Thota”, the law and order situation had deteriorated. Many incidents had been reported during the Pran Pratishthapan of Lord Ram Lalla last week. Some persons had been arrested. This has been happening everywhere. The government is playing appeasement politics and giving protection to people involved in nefarious activities.”

What CM Siddaramaiah, DCM Shivakumar say

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah hit out at the opposition party, saying, “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.”

“This incident is a pre-arranged act of the BJP and Sangh Parivar. Such a situation has been created with the intention of systematically raising the people against the state government. There is no doubt that the plot to create communal riots in Mandya is a preparation for the Lok Sabha elections by the BJP leaders,” He added.

Karnataka DCM DK Shivakumar also reacted to the controversy and said, “They want to establish a political foothold in Mandya. They are just creating confusion in the minds of the public. Nothing will happen. The people of Mandya are very tolerant and secular. This is pure politics. And they wanted to destabilize the peace of the state. We want peace, let us maintain peace.”

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