JD(S) ST woman MLA from Devadurga, Karemma Nayak, accuses BJP workers of assault; 1 arrested

The MLA had gone to Bandegud in the Raichur district to condole the family of a GESCOM employee who had died on duty.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Jun 07, 2023 | 2:56 AM Updated Jun 07, 2023 | 2:57 AM

Devadurga MLA Karemma G Nayak

Tension gripped Bandegud Thanda in the Raichur district of Karnataka in the afternoon on Monday, 5 June, as BJP workers reportedly abused Devadurga MLA Karemma G Nayak and stopped her from visiting the family of a local man who was killed earlier.

Following a complaint by JD(S) party workers, the Devadurga police arrested one of the main accused for allegedly abusing the MLA.

The complaint

A 28-year-old lineman in the Gulbarga Electric Supply Company (GESCOM) named Virupaksha succumbed after he was electrocuted while carrying out repair work on an electric pole in the Bandegud hamlet, according to police.

“The villagers, who are also BJP workers, demanded that the Devadurga MLA immediately visit the village, and also staged a protest by blocking the traffic. When the MLA turned up to the incident spot, the gathered BJP workers abused Karemma and tried to assault her and the JD(S) workers,” alleged JD(S) leader Basavaraj Nayak.

The JD(S) leaders filed a complaint against the eight BJP workers, including Bhagwantraya Nayak, who is the brother of former Karnataka minister K Shivanagouda Nayak, for abusing the Devadurga MLA.

Acting on the complaint, the Devadurga police arrested the main accused, Amaresh Nayak, and are in search of the seven others.

While the JD(S) workers staged a protest and alleged that Bhagwantraya was not only present at the incident spot but was also the main conspirator behind the abuse of the MLA, the police said that he was not present at the incident spot.

Also read: Meet the first-time MLAs of Karnataka

‘BJP workers abused me’

It has not even been a month since JD(S) MLA Karemma G Nayak registered her maiden victory from the Devadurga Assembly segment in the Karnataka polls.

She alleged that the BJP workers abused the MLA in the presence of the very police who are supposed to give her protection.

However, she did not file any complaint either against the BJP workers or the police.

Karemma told South First: “A powerline worker had been electrocuted while carrying out repair work on the electric pole. A mob, mostly BJP workers under the influence of alcohol, gathered in huge numbers and not only abused me but also threatened me.”

She added: “These were the supporters of former BJP MLA K Shivanagouda Nayak. I immediately spoke with the Circle Police Inspector of Devadurga division to control the mob, but he ignored my words.”

“Even Devadurga Police Inspector (PI) Hosakerappa didn’t heed my words and acted disrespectfully towards me. The inspectors don’t treat me with respect for the sole reason that I hail from a poor background,” alleged the JD(S) MLA.

“Then, I spoke with the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), who assured me of sending forces immediately to the spot. To my surprise, when I went to the Thanda, there were hardly any policemen,” said Karemma.

“The BJP party workers didn’t even allow me to condole the victim’s family. I am deeply pained because the police failed to give proper protection to an MLA,” she added.

“I have also spoken with Raichur’s Superintendent of Police to give me police protection. I have also talked to him about the BJP workers threatening me and talking about by-elections,” said Karemma.

Stating that it was her party workers who filed a complaint with the police, the MLA also said: “I want to have a cordial relationship with the police and work hand in hand with them to strengthen the law and order situation in the constituency.”

She added: “I will never complain against anyone. My party workers, who were pained by the incident, filed a complaint. I want to have a good relationship with everyone. I hope that the police will work towards protecting the interests of an MLA.”

When asked whether she saw Bhagwanthraya at the incident spot, she said: “I have not seen him at the incident spot. But it was his supporters who abused me. It is the conspiracy of Shivanagouda Nayak.”

She also said that she would take up the matter with the state government in the coming days.

Also read: Toddler dead after consuming contaminated water in Raichur

Police version differs

Meanwhile, the police claim that the accused in the case were not affiliated with the BJP but were simply local villagers.

Raichur SP B Nikhil told South First: “Some reports are saying that the accused are BJP workers, but it is false. All the accused are residents of the same thanda (hutment).”

He added: “We have also gathered video evidence on the incident. We are verifying them. We have arrested the main accused and are probing the incident to ascertain the involvement of the other seven accused.”

On the allegations of the inspector disrespecting the Devadurga MLA, the SP said: “It is far from the truth. It was the police who prevented the mob from attacking the MLA. We have taken the case seriously and a probe is underway.”