Two incidents that attracted police intervention — one involving a Ganesha idol immersion in the Koppal district and another involving a group of men celebrating Eid-Milad in Ullal in the Mangaluru district — have come to light in Karnataka.
They point to a disturbing trend, especially in the aftermath of the Shivamogga stone-pelting incident where at least 24 FIRs have been registered and over 60 people have been arrested and are being questioned.
As if these were not enough for the cops, they stumbled upon fake news being circulated in Shivamogga that a Muslim youth was killed in a police encounter in the Ragiguda area of the district.
Explained: Karnataka Police’s Anti-Communal Wing
The Koppal incident
The Koppal district police have taken up a suo motu case and arrested five people who were part of Ganesha idol immersion festivities in Gangavathi on Friday, 29 September.
The procession, carrying a huge Ganesha idol, was passing in front of the Bade Masjid near the Gandhi Circle in Gangavathi, where the procession stopped and a person standing close to the idol performed aarti — a Hindu ritual in which light is offered to one or more deities.
However, in this context, the aarti was perceived to have been offered to the mosque, which could have hurt the religious sentiments of a different community.
A video of the incident went viral on social media in Koppal, which prompted the Gangavathi police to register a suo motu case and arrest five persons allegedly involved in the case.
“The accused have been booked under Sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 505 (statements conducing public mischief) of the IPC,” a DySP-rank officer told South First.
Ruckus in Mangaluru
It was on Eid Milad on Thursday when a few residents living around Rani Abbakka Circle in Ullal in the Mangaluru district complained to the police that around a dozen men were creating a furore and waving green flags at the junction.
They were indulging in a hue-and-cry, shouting slogans that were potentially creating a fearful atmosphere for the passersby, commercial establishments, and residents, said the local residents.
When the police went on to question them and asked them to disperse, they allegedly justified their actions and stated that it was their festival.
“However, we have issued police notices to 13 of them asking them why legal action should not be taken against them as they were getting involved in activities that could cause communal flare-ups,” Mangaluru Superintendent of Police (SP) Anupam Agrawal told South First.
“We have issued notices to 13 men from the minority community, warning them, and have asked them for their explanation,” he explained.
Police action in Shivamogga
Meanwhile, the Shivamogga rural police have registered a total of 24 FIRs and arrested over 60 people from the Shantinagar area in Ragi Gudda, booking them for assault on people and vandalising and destruction of properties — both houses and vehicles.
A senior police officer told South First that the injured victims belonged to three communities.
“The 1 October incident lasted for about 30-45 minutes, where criminals targeted the innocent. Victims sustained injuries — a couple of them on their heads. Their house roofs were damaged, windowpanes were smashed, and vehicles were vandalised. A four-wheeler, an auto-rickshaw and two two-wheelers were damaged in the Sunday evening violence,” said the officer.
“We have identified the culprits and have secured them. The situation was brought under control within 45 minutes as we had information that two groups of people from two communities had gone in two directions, and they also started attacking the police,” he told South First.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Tuesday that his government takes strict action to contain incidents of communal violence quickly.
He dismissed allegations by some BJP leaders that incidents of communal violence had been on the rise after the Congress government came to power in the state in May.
“What job do they (BJP) have other than making allegations? Allegations are not true. False allegations,” Siddaramaiah told reporters.
He said some miscreants who indulged in stone-pelting had been arrested, and legal action had been initiated against them.
Meanwhile, a piece of fake news began circulating widely on social media on Tuesday, claiming that a Muslim youth was killed in a police encounter in Ragiguda in the Shivamogga district.
However, since no such incident had taken place, the Shivamogga CEN police station took up a suo-motu case against the social media profiles and handles that were actively spreading the false news.
Shivamogga SP GK Mithun Kumar said in a post on X: “A false news is circulating on social media that a Muslim youth died in a police encounter in Ragigudda, Shimoga, but such an incident did not happen.”
He added: “A case has been registered in CEN police station – Crime No. 98/2023 against those who spread the said false news and investigation has been started @DgpKarnataka”
ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಜಾಲತಾಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗ ರಾಗಿಗುಡ್ಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಪೊಲೀಸ್ ಎನ್ ಕೌಂಟರ್ ನಿಂದ ಮುಸ್ಲಿಂ ಯುವಕನ ಮೃತ್ಯು ಎಂಬ ಸುಳ್ಳು ಸುದ್ದಿ ಹರಿದಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದು, ಈ ರೀತಿ ಘಟನೆಯು ನಡೆದಿಲ್ಲ. ಸದರಿ ಸುಳ್ಳು ಸುದ್ಧಿಯನ್ನು ಹರಿಬಿಟ್ಟವರ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಸಿಇಎನ್ ಠಾಣೆ ಗುನ್ನೆ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ 98/2023 ರಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಕರಣವನ್ನು ದಾಖಲಿಸಿ ತನಿಖೆ ಕೈಗೊಂಡಿದೆ @DgpKarnataka pic.twitter.com/40VZSIzfAm
— SP Shivamogga (@Shivamogga_SP) October 3, 2023