Prohibitory order extended another day in Shivamogga, Karnataka when violent reactions to the death of Bajrang Dal member Harsha continued on February 21, 2022. According to Deccan Herald, around 20 people were injured in the incident, including two photojournalists, a policeman and a woman. Moreover, around 100 vehicles were set on fire. In light of the tense atmosphere in the town, the prohibitory orders are extended till February 23.
On February 20 night, youth Harsha, the Bajrang Dal member, was allegedly stabbed to death at the Ravi Varma lane in Bharathi colony. Shortly after, viral videos showed how his supporters had become violent on streets, pelting stones and demanding justice for the man. The police deployed a large number of personnel and imposed Section 144 in the town, and the administration shut down schools and colleges.
However, the sympathisers continued with the violence as seen on Monday when more videos of burning vehicles and attacks on Muslim residential areas went viral. Earlier, State Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa alleged the role of “Muslims goons” in the killing, even though the police had not confirmed the cause of death.
Nonetheless, Deccan Herald reported that the police permitted for Harsha’s final rites after demands from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. The funeral procession went from the District McGann Teaching General Hospital to the Rotary crematorium at Vidyanagar. Despite security measures, miscreants threw stones when the procession reached Siddaiah Road. Videos depict vandals ruining stalls, setting vehicles on fire, pelting stones at commercial establishments, houses and mosques.
बजरंग दल कार्यकर्ता हर्ष की शवयात्रा के दौरान कर्नाटक के #Shimoga में दंगे शुरू, दुकानों और घरों को जलाया जा रहा है । मुस्लिम घरों को टारगेट किया जा रहा। हिंसा को कंट्रोल करने के लिए पुलिस ने आंसू गैस के गोले दागे है । pic.twitter.com/ePpOV8xWBm
— ???? ?? (@Asmaparveen77) February 21, 2022
Attacks reported on business establishments believed to be owned by a section, in Shivamogga, in the aftermath of Bajrang Dal member Harsha’s murder. Police presence is beefed up in the area. @TheQuint pic.twitter.com/wvyHeIftrH
— Nikhila Henry (@NikhilaHenry) February 21, 2022
This again occurred near the mosque at Gandhi Bazaar. In Azad Nagar, more miscreants wreaked havoc in a Muslim residential area. In some videos innocent by-standers like truck drivers were attacked by goons. Eventually, the police had to resort to tear-gas to control the situation.
— Shyam Meera Singh (@ShyamMeeraSingh) February 21, 2022
It is worth noting that while the communal violence was started as a demand for justice to Harsha, the victim’s sister has given a public request not to engage in violent behaviour. Speaking to local news channels, she said, “Chanting Hindu, Hindutva, my brother fell to this stage. Kindly once have a look. I ask all my brothers, with folded hands, I ask Hindus and Muslims too, be a good child to your parents. Don’t do this.”
On Monday, the police arrested Khasif and Syed Nadeem as suspects, although they are yet to find a motive. Harsha was allegedly attacked by a five-member gang on the day of his death. Police suspect that the youth was targeted for his earlier communal acts and four pending cases with the Doddapete police.
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