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Karnataka: Siddaramaiah warns communal groups against inciting violence

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-07-2017 Sharan Poovanna

Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday issued a stern warning to all communal organizations operating in the coastal districts of Mangalore, Udupi and surrounding areas in the state after gruesome incidents of violence were reported from these regions in recent months.

Mangalore and Udupi—regions with the highest literacy in the state—have become the battlefield where communal issues have taken centre stage between organisations like the RSS, Bajarang Dal, Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), among others.

“I urge all citizens in Dakshina Kannada district to maintain peace & not flare up communal tensions or indulge in violence of any kind,” Siddaramaiah said on Twitter on Monday. He added that strict action would be taken against those inciting hatred and provoking people.

States such as West Bengal, for the past one-and-a-half months, have seen intense violence—including that of the communal kind—in different districts, resulting in normal life for hundreds of thousands of people coming to a standstill.

The coastal region of Karnataka has been plagued by communal violence for decades.

The chief minister, who held a meeting with senior police officials in Bengaluru on Monday, said that Karnataka director general of police (DGP) will visit Dakshina Kannada later this month and submit a report to the state government.

Stating that the coastal region had become a “laboratory” of communal groups, Siddaramaiah directed officials to invoke Goonda Act and Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA) against all those involved “irrespective of the group’s leanings”.

Sharath Madivala, an RSS worker, died on Friday, three days after he was brutally attacked by unidentified miscreants in Dakshina Kannada.

Siddaramaiah gave instructions to law enforcement officials to ensure they maintain constant vigilance on habitual offenders and “communal goondas”. He added that senior officials should build strong cases and employ watertight legal strategy to increase conviction rates of these anti-social elements.

Heading into elections next year, the Congress and the BJP have locked horns over the rise of communal incidents in Karavali areas (coastal districts) of the state, with one blaming the other for “provoking” people.

Union minister for statistics and programme implementation, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, on Sunday said that the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state was responsible for the rise in attacks against BJP and RSS workers. Shobha Karandlaje, the BJP MP from Udupi-Chikmagalur, on Saturday shot off a letter to union home minister Rajnath Singh to report about the increase of attacks against RSS and BJP activists. In her letter, she said that since September 2015, there have been 23 murders of and six attempts to murder in the state against personnel of right-wing organizations.

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