Mangaluru, Sep 7 (PTI) Several BJP leaders and hundreds of workers were detained today in Karnataka as police foiled a bid by its youth wing to hold a bike rally to protest the alleged killings of Hindu activists in the coastal districts of Mangaluru and Udupi.
Amid a tense stand-off with the police, the BJP’s state unit president and former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, MPs Prahlad Joshi, Pratap Simha and Naleen Kumar Kateel and other leaders, including R Ashoka, K S Eshwarappa, Arvinda Limbavali and C T Ravi, were detained.
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) also demanded a ban on Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Popular Front of India (PFI) and Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), describing them as Muslim “radical” outfits responsible for the “unrest” in the coastal region.
The protest hit normal life in the city and resulted in traffic snarls at the narrow stretch between Ambedkar Circle and Deputy Commissioner’s Office and on peripheral roads.
The police had denied permission for the “Mangaluru Chalo” motorcycle rally and procession to the Deputy Commissioner’s office.
A verbal duel broke out between the police and BJP leaders after they held a brief meeting at the Ambedkar Circle addressing a strong crowd.
The procession started moving towards the DC office when the party cadres and leaders were detained.
Police personnel deflated tyres of a bus which was carrying the BJP workers to the venue of the protest.
Several BJP workers were injured as there were skirmishes between them and the police when they were prevented from going to the DC’s office at Hampanakatta.
The Dakshina Kannada district administration had promulgated prohibitory orders under Section 35 of the Karnataka Police Act in the entire district from September 6 till September 8 midnight.
However, they had allowed the BJP’s proposed public meeting between 11 am and 2 pm at the Nehru Maidan.
The prohibitory orders were promulgated as a precautionary measure to prevent recurrence of untoward incidents that were being reported at several places across the Dakshina Kannada district in the recent past.
Police had put up barricades at several places on the way to Hampanakatta to stop people from marching in groups and from organising the bike rally.
Around 1,000 police personnel, Karnataka State reserve police and special striking force personnel were deployed across the district.
Addressing protestors at Ambedkar circle, Yeddyurappa alleged that law and order had collapsed under the Congress regime and demanded that chief minister Siddaramaiah should resign owing moral responsibility for the situation.
He also demanded that the government should conduct a fair investigation into the deaths of RSS workers in Dakshina Kannada district.
Kateel said if Siddaramaiah did not ban Muslim “radical” outfits, Yeddyurappa “would do it within months after coming to power”.
BJYM state president Pratap Simha alleged that district in-charge minister Ramanath Rai was turning the coastal region into a “war field by favouring radical elements”.
“The fight would continue till a ban is enforced on PFI, SDPI and KFD,” he claimed.
Karandlaje alleged that the chief minister was “imposing emergency indirectly” in the state by trying to crush agitations.
Prahlad Joshi said the Siddaramaiah government was exhibiting a “dictatorial attitude by preventing a peaceful rally”.
According to the police, 850 persons were detained.
A protester collapsed during the ‘padayatra’ near Hampankatta Circle and was rushed to the hospital by the police.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.