Members of the district unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) protested near the Service Bus Stand in Udupi on Friday against the police lathi-charge on its workers during their march to the Sri Krishna Math/Temple demanding an end to “made snana” and “pankti bheda” on December 27.

Addressing the protestors, CPI(M) leader K.S. Lakshmi said the police had not behaved in an impartial manner on December 27.

They had behaved like sponsored agents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government. The CPI(M) would take up the matter of the high-handed police behaviour with the National Human Rights Commission, she said.

Ms. Lakshmi said that Viswesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math had visited the Dalit colonies in different parts of the State. “When he can visit Dalit colonies, he can allow Dalits to sit with Brahmins and have meals in his math,” she said. Vittal Poojary, CPI(M) leader, said the CPI(M) workers had not violated any law, yet they had been caned. Some CPI(M) workers had been beaten up mercilessly by the police.

The windshield of the two buses had not been damaged by the CPI(M) workers. The police must withdraw the cases slapped against the CPI(M) leaders and workers, he said.

Balakrishna Shetty, CPI(M) leader, said the police had arrested 182 persons after the lathi-charge on December 27 and they had been produced before the magistrate at 1 a.m. on December 28.

“The CPI(M) will continue its struggle against made snana and pankti bheda till they are abolished,” he said. CPI(M) leaders P. Vishwanath Rai, Vidyaraj, Dogu Suvarna, Venkatesh Koni, and Pushpa Mallar were present.

The protest was held amidst tight police security. In fact, there were more policemen than protesters, a fact acknowledged by a CPI(M) leader.

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