Perhaps, never in the history of the Dr Shivarama Karantha Huttura Prashasthi award presentation function did they experience such heavy deployment of police. On Tuesday, as the Dr Shivarama Karantha Trust was gearing up to honour popular actor Prakash Raj with the award, Udupi police were keeping a strict vigil to avoid any untoward incidents, especially after Prakash Raj earned the ire of the public for his statements against PM Modi on Gauri Lankesh's Murder. Over 100 policemen are keeping a strict vigil at the spot.
For the past 13 years, the trust is conferring the award in association with the Kotatottu Gram Panchayat with much fan fare. However, this is for the first time that the celebrations were mired in controversy. Actor Prakash Raj had recently questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh. He had also questioned why Modi was following those on social media who celebrated the killing of Gauri Lankesh.
This had irked the BJP leaders and Modi supporters who had opposed the award for Prakash Raj. For, the Kotatottue Gram Panchayat is supported by BJP and the BJP MLC Kota Srinivas Poojary also hails from Kota. While BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje put out a tweet opposing the award, BJP MLC Poojary had stated that he too would not attend the award celebration.
Strongly object Dr Shivaram Karanth award being presented to Actor Prakash Rai.Committee should reconsider their decision.— Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) October 9, 2017
Meanwhile, not wanting to take any chances, the Udupi police have taken some activists into custody who have threatened to show black flags against Prakash Raj. The organisers, it is reported, too have decided to forgo a procession which they had planned to take out with Prakash Raj.