Mangaluru: Popular Front of India (PFI) has issued a press statement clarifying on its recent Shivamogga rally and the subsequent clashes that resulted in the death of one person and injuries to some, and arrest of a few.
“We want to state the truth. With the help of a small group of media, communalists are trying to spread wrong news and the Sangh Parivar has been adding fuel to the fire,” the PFI media release states.
“Shivamogga convention which was scheduled for February 17 was postponed on account of Shivaratri festival and was held on February 19 instead. Around 15,000 people who participated in the procession rally were shouting slogans against communalists, anti-people policies of government and human rights violations. When the rally reached Gandhi Bazar, some Sangh Parivar activists started pelting stones and bottles. PFI volunteers tried to prevent people from getting incited. But when the stone-pelting continued, police resorted to lathi charge to control that but the participants of the rally were also targeted later without any warning. Police need to give explanation for the same.
“But the volunteers handled the situation well and the convention started peacefully at 6 pm. But during the convention goons from Sangh Parivar set fire to vehicles, shops and a house. Twelve persons were injured when stones were pelted at a mosque. The people who came from Chikkamagaluru, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada were targeted and in the ensuing clashes, 17 were injured and one person died. As many as 35 cars, three mini buses and nine buses were damaged. It is not yet certain as to who were involved in the clashes,” the statement reads.
“BJP leaders have influenced the police to arrest innocent Muslim youths. They wanted to target PFI leaders. Police have illegally arrested people from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and other places. A similar type of convention was held on February 21 in Chamarajanagar which went on peacefully. Police also handled the situation well there. We request everyone to support us to counter anti-national elements. We also urge the state government to show no mercy to these anti social powers.
“We demand justice in the Shivamogga incident. There is no doubt that it was a pre-planned attack. The state government should not show any mercy to such forces. We will continue to fight against communal forces and we stand by the people affected by the incident.” the statement from PFI concludes.