Bajrang Dal workers went on a rampage on Thursday night at Kumpala, on the outskirts of the city, and assaulted people, stoned a house, and set a car on fire. Five people have been arrested in connection with the violence.

Around 11.30 p.m., a group of around 20 inebriated men — whom the local residents identified as Bajrang Dal activists — attacked Prakash Poojary (30), an auto parts dealer and a member of Hindu Jagarana Vedike, near the Kumpala Balakrishna Mandir.

Prakash, ran out of his car, and headed towards a neighbour’s house. His car, purchased a year ago for Rs. 1 lakh, was set on fire. In the rampage, the house of a neighbour who protested the violence was stoned. The crowd traced Prakash to his neighbour Vignesh Gatty’s house.

The mob, however, overpowered Shetty and his family, and forced their way through the back of the house. Mr. Gatty says they tried to strangle him, while also attacking his younger brother Ganesh in the head.

“They had come with swords, rods, sticks. They kept pounding Prakash. We thought he was going to die,” said Mr. Gatty.

Prakash was admitted in Yenepoya Hospital nearby, where he is in a critical condition.

Background

According to Devraj Poojary, Prakash’s uncle, the men were after Prakash’s younger brother, Vikram, who had filed a case against members of Bajrang Dal for allegedly slapping a child during the festivities at Thokottu on Wednesday.

“They were all friends who parted ways when they joined different organisations. Over the past three years, there have been fights on Vikram, sometimes over something as trivial as who can put banners where. On Thursday, the men who were drunk, decided to provoke an attack,” he said.

Ullal police have filed an attempt to murder case against 25 persons – all aged between 20 and 25 – and arrested Ashish, Sharan, Rajesh, Shailesh, Ravishankar. The prime accused Kunta Ganesh, a Bajrang Dal leader, was yet to be arrested.

Satyajit Surathkal, regional HJV leader, who visited the victim in the hospital, claimed that the incident was “small” and the police would be asked to drop the case as a “compromise” was being worked out between the parties. However, senior police officials said that a compromise could not be reacehd in such serious cases.

Trouble in Kalladka

Two hindutva groups clashed in Kalladka town on friday night. Bantwal Town police said around 8 p.m., members of Bajrang Dal and Om Shakti, a local right wing group, got into an argument, which led to blows being exchanged. After the mosaru kudike programme there, the groups were angered over placement of banners. This led to blows, and brandishing of weapons on friday. The police contained the violence immediately.

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