‘Stop rath yatra, government told’, read a headline in The Hindustan Times, October 7, 1990. An article in The Sunday Observer, dated October 14, 1990 titled, ‘The Communal Flare-up’ was authored by none less than Sudheendra Kulkarni, then assistant editor with the paper. Kulkarni later rose to become officer on special duty to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
The article read: “Tumkur, Mandya, Kodagu or Coorg, Chitradurga, Mysore, Mangalore, Shimoga, parts of Bangalore city itself and even Dharwar in North Karnataka, have all reported instances of mounting tensions and even minor clashes. What is new to this present round of communal violence in this state, is the extent to which it has succeeded in penetrating the villages. The burning down of an entire hamlet of Muslim farmers near Chennapatna is only the most shocking among the cases reported so far. In Kolar district, too, Muslim houses in several villages have been reported to have been attacked by unknown outsiders.
“Even as the state was reeling under the sudden spurt of religious strife, yet another piece of inhumanity was committed in Bah Malkheda, a village in the north-eastern district of Bidar (which borders Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh). Seven persons, including a woman and a child, were roasted alive, in a clash that was set off by nothing more than a minor altercation between two drunken youths… There is no doubt whatsoever, that the Muslim community (which constitutes about 35 per cent of the town’s population) bore the brunt of the rioting, both in terms of lives lost and property damaged — of the 17 dead, 13 were Muslims. Muslim hoodlums, in turn, attacked a colony of Tamil speaking Adi Dravidas (Adivasis) and set ablaze 15 houses.”