Ruckus at cultural programme venue

A few Congress workers created a ruckus at the venue of a cultural programme here on Sunday as they were incensed by the alleged disparaging remarks by theatre personality Master Hirannaiah against their party president Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The programme was being held at Nadabrahma Sangeetha Sabha to mark the seventh anniversary of Naganava Kala Sahitya Vedike. The organisers felicitated Mr. Hirannaiah for his contributions to the field of theatre, Ashok Pai for his contributions to the field of medicine, Kethamma, member of the Chamarajanagar Zilla Panchayat, for social service, and Jyothi for education.

In the course of his speech, Mr. Hirannaiah allegedly disparaged Ms. Gandhi and Mr. Siddaramaiah. On learning about this, a few Congress workers, led by Lokesh, created a ruckus at the venue. They broke chairs, vandalised the podium, and raised slogans against Mr. Hirannaiah, who had by then left the venue, before dispersing.

The organisers informed the police and sought security, after which the programme continued. “We are not filing any complaint to pursue the issue,” said vedike president Manjunath.

Subsequently, a few Congress workers gathered outside the City Court Complex and staged a demonstration against the theatre artiste.

After learning about the brewing controversy, Mr. Hirannaiah rushed to Mr. Siddaramaiah’s residence near Ramakrishna Nagar here and offered his apologies. “I have been in public life for more than 70 years and did not seek to create disharmony. If my utterances have hurt someone, then I’m prepared to withdraw from public life as all things should come to an end,” Mr. Hirannaiah said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that since Mr. Hirannaiah had apologised, the matter should end here.

When the two were meeting, Mr. Siddaramaiah’s supporters started shouting slogans outside the residence. The one who was leading the protest entered the house and tried to create a ruckus. When Mr. Siddaramaiah ordered him to “get out”, the supporter refused saying that he was “hurt” by Mr. Hirannaiah’s remarks, forcing the police to intervene.

Some of the Congress supporters who were witnessing the proceedings criticised Mr. Hirannaiah for his remarks. “You have apologised, but what about the sentiments of Congress followers which have been hurt?” a woman activist said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah, who treated the issue as a closed chapter, directed the police to escort Mr. Hirannaiah, lest there was any trouble.

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