The Karnataka Rajyotsava was celebrated in all pomp and glory all over the State except at Belagavi, where violence and blood bath marred the celebrations. Stone throwing injured over 25 and a group of youth stabbed five including a police constable. Police have taken seven into custody and are investigating, reports Kannada Prabha.
The Marathas in Belagavi had always protested and stoned Rajyotsava procession in Belagavi. But this is for the first time a group resorted to stabbing. The police had to resort to lathi charge several times to bring the situation under control during the Rajyotsava celebrations. A group started pelting stones at the procession injuring 25 and breaking the glasses of hotels and shops. Tight security has been provided throughout the City. Amidst all the chaos, Kannadigas did not miss to celebrate the special day and till late night took out the procession of over 100 tableaux.
The riot started in the evening when the procession was passing in front of the DC’s office. Stones were pelted from a private school nearby. The police had to cane the protesters to bring the situation under control. Just then a group of youth came to the tableaux and demanded that there was a prayer hall nearby and they should not dance or tie the flag. This led to a heated argument between the two groups leading to scuffle. During the scuffle, again stones were pelted injuring over 25. Again the police had to cane to disperse the crowd.
Simultaneously, near Sangolli Rayanna Circle, when a tableaux was passing a group of youth covering their faces behind hoods arrived on motorbikes and started stabbing indiscriminately. When constable MM Patel tried to stop them, they stabbed him also. People gathered around them and tried to catch them and remove the hood from their faces but the group managed to stab four more persons and escaped on bikes. The police have not booked any case so far.
Meanwhile, Belagavi Mayor Samjotha Bandekar participated in the Black Day organised by Maharashtra Ekikara Samithi. When some people complained about this to district in- charge Minister Ramesh Jarkoholi, he responded saying just because he participated in the Black Day celebration action cannot be taken against him. Only if he has raised slogan against the State or delivered a speech against the State, action could be taken against him. He said superseding Belagavi Corporation gives more strength to MES and hence it is better to ignore the MES, reports Kannada Prabha quoting the minister.
Speaking at the Black Day, former chief minister of Maharashtra Narayana Rane’s son and current MLA Nitish Rane said the MES would pay back with "interest" the atrocities committed by Kannadigas against Marathas. He said all that has been accounted and will be repaid with interest by committing atrocities against Kannadigas. He said his next visit to Belagavi would be only after it is merged with Maharashtra.