Thirthahalli: Even four days after the mysterious death of a 14-year-old girl, the communal tension has not subsided at Thirthahalli town in Shivamogga district.
The communal tensions erupted in the town following the rumours that a Hindu girl was abducted, raped and poisoned by three men belonging to Muslim community. However, police sources brushed aside the rumours and said that the girl committed suicide. A death note also recovered from the girl’s home.
The town witnessed complete bandh on Monday. Business establishments, cinema halls, government offices, schools and colleges remained closed. The movement of vehicles was paralysed.
Though police imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC within a five-km radius of the town, members of various women’s organisations gathered at the Town Panchayat grounds and staged a protest demanding the arrest of those responsible for the girl’s death. A police team led by Superintendent of Police (SP) Kaushalendra Kumar rushed to the spot and asked them to call off the protest.
Responding to it, the agitators observed one-minute silence to mourn the death of the girl and called off the protest. Former MLA and State BJP Raitha Morcha president Araga Jnanendra, Town Panchayat president Soppugudde Raghavendra and others took part in the protest.
However, a section of the agitators refused to call off the protest. Irked by this, police resorted to caning. This led to tension in the town and members of various organisations took out a protest rally. When the rally reached Koppa Circle, police caned the agitators again. An angry mob burnt tyres at major roads and circles. A series of protests were staged at various places of the taluk, including Balgaru, Kudumallige, Kannangi, Honnasagadde, Konandur, Ranjadakatte and Bidaragodu.
When police did not allow protest in the town, people intensified the agitation in villages. People in Ranjadakatte, Kaimara, Kuruvalli, Konandur, Bejjavalli, Araga and other places in the taluk staged protests, disrupting movement of vehicles. A group of people threw stones at a masjid at Ranjadakatte, which is the native place of the girl’s grandfather. Police personnel were also injured in the incident. Around 20 people were arrested and four from Udupi to take part in the protest, were also taken into custody.
Enraged by the decision of police not to allow protest, a group of youths threw stones at the vehicle of the SP at Koppa Circle. A window pane of the vehicle was damaged.
Business establishments and shops belonging to the minority community were damaged by miscreants. Kaushalendra Kumar had been camping in the town to maintain law and order.
Prohibitory orders will be in force in the taluk till 6 pm of November 5 and in the town till November 10. Holiday was declared for schools and colleges across the taluk on November 4 and 5. Police security has been beefed up.
Kaushalendra Kumar said, “As many as 43 persons have been arrested for flouting the Section 144 so far. The investigation is on and nobody has been arrested so far.”