Shivamogga: Frictions vitiate PFI programme, one killed, five injured
Shivamogga, Feb 20: After verbal frictions which arose between two different groups during the Ekatha Jatha for Democracy(unity march) organized in the town by Popular Front of India (PFI) on Thursday February 19 turned violent and took an ugly turn, policemen interfered and clamped prohibitory orders.
The situation in the town continues to be tense. Five people were injured in group clashes, while five others were injured in caning.
The programme was organized by PFI on its founding day. Situation turned grave in the district after some PFI activists returning to Mangaluru after the meeting attacked a person named Vishwanath (40), a resident of Alkola village near Gajanur Camp in the district. Vishwanath, who was assaulted with lethal weapons, was grievously injured, and died on way to hospital.
During PFI’s ‘Unity March’ programme in the town, a group questioned about the raising of certain slogans which they found to be objectionable. The other group did not agree. This gave rise to tense moments, and at one stage, the two groups seemed to be headed for a pitched battle after heated words were exchanged between them.
At the march past held before the meeting, pro-Pakistan and anti-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh slogans were raised near Shivappa Nayaka Circle. The participants continued to raise slogans even after the police asked them to desist from doing so. Near the vegetable market, some stones were hurled at the procession. In retaliation, stones were pelted, and shops and stalls were set on fire at Gopi Circle and Gandhi Bazaar. A vehicle that was carrying the mortal remains of a person in a casket, also was rained with stones.
After petty shops selling sugarcane juice, fruits, tyre puncture repair shops and others were gutted by fire, merchants began closing down their shops on Nehru Road, Durgigudi, Garden Area, B H Road, Gandhi Bazaar, etc. As people rushed back to homes, streets wore a deserted look.Those injured in the lathi charge were admitted into Mcgann Hospital.
These incidents happened at Shivappa Nayaka Circle and Ameer Ahmed Circle. There were also reports of stone pelting at Gandhinagar. The policemen had to resort to caning to disperse the clashing groups. The trouble also spread to Gajanur, Ooragadur and other areas in the outskirts of the town. Additional police contingents were deployed in strategic places. A day’s holiday for Friday has been declared for all the schools and colleges in the town
Thereafter, prohibitory orders were clamped to see that the situation does not go out of hand.
It is learnt that five persons were arrested relating to this incident.