On New Year’s Day, a group of BJP supporters allegedly thrashed an activist associated with the Congress in Belagavi district for reportedly uploading a derogatory Facebook post against an MLA of the opposition party. On January 23, a similar incident happened in the same district with only the political affiliations reversed: supporters of a woman Congress leader allegedly threatened relatives of a BJP MLA.


The supporters of Karnataka Mahila Congress president Lakshmi Hebbalkar claimed that Sanath Kumar, a relative of BJP MLA Sanjay Patil, had recently complained to the IT Department against Hebbalkar. Kumar is the director of the Gomatesha Vidyapeetha. Following the complaint, IT officials raided Hebbalkar’s house.


Early on January 23, Channaraja Hattiholi, Hebbalkar’s brother, reportedly arrived at Kumar’s house in Adarshanagar, Belagavi, with more than 25 supporters and threatened his family. Kumar was not at home. The group consisted of local Congress leaders including Shankara Gauda Patil, Belagavi taluk panchayat president. The group, which was allegedly armed, broke the windows and doors of Kumar’s house.


Kumar filed a complaint against the group at Tilakwadi Police Station. “They came around 3 AM and asked me about my husband. I told them that he has gone to Goa. They threatened me. Many (in the group) had deadly weapons,” Kumar’s wife Bhagyashri told mediapersons.


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Responding to the claims, Hebbalkar claimed, “This is a concocted story to defame me. I urge the government to probe the case. Recently, to create disharmony in the society, some BJP workers desecrated an idol of Basavanna with a garland of slippers and spread false news that it was done by the Congress. Now, they have repeated the same tactic in this issue also. I will fight against this false allegation legally.”