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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Shivamogga residents pick up pieces after mob violence

Crowds erupted in many parts of the region, hurling stones, damaging homes and businesses.

SHIVAMOGGA: Police patrol the Shivamogga roads after the day of the killing of a Bajrang Dal worker sparked violent protests and mob violence in the Karnataka region, about 250 kilometers from Bengaluru. Residents removing stones and debris outside their homes on OT Road, just around the bustling city circle, described how the mob had attacked their homes all Monday.

Mohammed Ali, a local businessman, said: “We were not at home and we did not expect it to happen like this.” The mob attacked his two motorcycles, his car and his home.

The violence erupted after a group of unknown men killed Harsha, 26, an employee on Sunday night. Karnataka police on Monday said they had arrested three Bengaluru men in connection with a murder case. Interior Minister Araga Jnanendra did not even name them as the Harsha family and some ruling leaders of the Baratiya Janata Party (BJP) called the killings a hate crime fueled by religious belief.

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The killings took place amid controversy over the hijab ban in the province. Crowds rallied around the area, pelting stones with stones and damaging homes and businesses.

Aslam Pasha, 59, another Shivamogga resident, said they were facing a flurry of statements made by political leaders such as Prime Minister KS Eshwarappa and Pramod Muthalik, Sri Rama Sene’s chief of staff.

When Pasha spoke to HT, one resident complained to him, saying that concrete blocks placed outside the front area were being used to attack their homes. “Put those stones in now. They used those stones to damage everything here, ”said the man. Pasha said he did not think such a thing could happen. Soon the jeep stopped and the police in it calmed down.

A plaque on Harsha, with a “Hindu” bracelet, is erected in the temple center in Segegehatti, a few meters from his home. A large group of anti-riot Rapid Action Force and local police have been deployed with anti-violence equipment as the situation continues to escalate in the region.

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On NT Road, few people watched the TV news channels reporting in the area. Harsha is lying in a pool of blood in the area on Sunday night. “Stop shooting; everything is peaceful here, ”said the cyclist, who did not stop to comment further.

Most people pretended not to know about Harsha being attacked for fear of being considered “an eyewitness”.

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