The dharna by members of the Hubli Sports Ground Bachao Samiti, led by honorary president Patil Puttappa, and other organisations outside the residence of the former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday passed off peacefully. The police, who had denied permission for the protest, were present in large numbers.

Mr. Shettar met the protesters, who are agitating to prevent the playground at Deshpande Nagar here from being converted into a recreation club, and reportedly assured them that he would look into their demand. Following this, Mr. Puttappa said they would wait until Thursday morning for Mr. Shettar to take a “positive decision”.“If he doesn’t, then we will be forced to continue the agitation,” he said.

U-turn by Shettar?

However, while speaking to presspersons later, Mr. Shettar did not mention the deadline set by the protesters, but repeatedly said that he was in no way concerned with the decisions of the Karnataka Gymkhana Association. He added that he had no role to play in the matter.

To a question, Mr. Shettar said there were some legal issues and the State government could look into the matter and take action if needed. He did not respond to queries on whether he would take up the issue.

Earlier, the protesters, along with Mr. Puttappa who was in a wheelchair, marched to Mr. Shettar’s residence, raising slogans. While the police were present in large numbers at the Ramesh Bhavan junction, which is on the way to Mr. Shettar’s residence, they did not try to prevent the protesters from heading to their destination. Instead, they cleared the route. However, they stopped the protesters a short distance away from Mr. Shettar’s residence by barricading the road.

Addressing the protesters, Mr. Puttappa said the agitation was not against any leader nor was it meant to tarnish anyone’s image.

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