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Hanuman flag controversy: BJP protests across Karnataka over alleged anti-hindu actions

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced widespread protests across all districts of Karnataka on Monday, January 29th, denouncing what they perceive as the anti-Hindu policies of the state Congress government. The catalyst for this widespread outcry stems from an incident in Mandya district, where the lowering of a Hanuman flag and alleged disrespect towards the National flag have ignited fury among BJP leaders and supporters.

Hanuman flag controversy: BJP protests across Karnataka over alleged anti-hindu actions
First Published Jan 29, 2024, 12:36 PM IST

BJP State President and MLA, B.Y. Vijayendra, has spearheaded the call for protests, directing party members to gather in front of district collector's offices across the state at 10 a.m. The Mandya district administration's handling of the Hanuman flag in Keragodu village, where they reportedly lowered and replaced it with the National flag in the afternoon, contravening standard flag-hoisting protocols, is the focal point of their ire. 
Also Read: Karnataka: Section 144 imposed as tension peaks in Mandya over Hanuman flag issue

In a show of dissent, the BJP has organised padayatras (marches) across Mandya, with Keragodu village becoming a focal point for protests with safforn flags and chants of Jai Shree Ram. Simultaneously, demonstrations have erupted in Bengaluru at Mysore Bank Circle, with BJP leaders and Karyakartas preparing to voice their grievances against the alleged anti-Hindu policies of the state government.

However, the BJP's plans for protests have encountered resistance from law enforcement authorities. The police issued notices urging BJP leaders to seek permission before protesting in specific areas, including Freedom Park and Mysore Bank Circle. Despite these warnings, BJP karyakartas, led by former IPS officer Bhaskar Rao, proceeded with their protest at Mysore Bank Circle, causing slogans against the government to reverberate through the streets. 
In later developments, Karnataka police have now detained BJP karyakartas protesting in Bengaluru, holding Hanuman flags, and raising slogans
Also Read: Cannot tolerate hoisting Saffron flags over govt buildings: Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwar

According to BJP leaders, including opposition leader R. Ashok, this act is emblematic of a broader trend of anti-Hindu sentiment within the state government. Ashok, addressing the media, accused Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of being "against Hanuman" and declared the government's actions as insults to the revered Hindu deity.

In response to the escalating tensions, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah issued a statement addressing the Mandya protest issue. He defended the actions of the district administration, emphasising that they had obtained all necessary permissions for hoisting the National and Karnataka flags in Keragodu village. 

Siddaramaiah dismissed the BJP's allegations of anti-Hindu sentiments, asserting his commitment to coexistence and tolerance among all religious communities. The Chief Minister accused the BJP of instigating unnecessary turmoil, attributing their actions to political opportunism ahead of the upcoming elections. He reiterated his adherence to secular principles enshrined in the Constitution. He has stated, "I am a Hindu; I love all people and all forms of religion."

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