A stone pelting incident during a religious procession led to tension in Old Hubli locality of Hubli on Sunday night resulting in mild lathi-charge and subsequent imposition of prohibitory orders.
Eight police personnel, including Deputy Commissioner of Police Srinath Joshi, suffered minor injuries in the clash and it is not yet clear on how many other people were injured in the incident.
Police Commissioner B.A. Padmanayan said that a procession was being taken out by Hindu organisations to mark ‘Shivaji Jayanti’ celebrations. The procession began from Basaveshwara Chowk in Nekar Nagar in Old Hubli and reached a place of worship in Banatikatta area. A huge portrait of Shivaji Maharaj was being taken out in a procession and loud music was being played. And, the procession was at a snail’s pace.
Mr. Padmanayan said it was not clear as to who actually started pelting stones as each of the two communities involved in the incident blamed the other.
According to eyewitnesses, the procession resumed after a while leading to more tension. Participants in the procession and those standing by the roadside allegedly pelted stones on one another further escalating the tension.
The police personnel, who intervened to bring the situation under control, were also hit by the stones and few vehicles that were parked by the roadside were also damaged in the clash between the two communities.
The police subsequently had to resort to mild lathi-charge to disperse the crowd and restore normality.
Mr. Padmanayan told The Hindu that the situation was under control and he had imposed prohibitory orders as a precautionary measure till the morning of Wednesday. He clarified that the prohibitory orders would not apply to religious functions. He said that while some persons were taken into custody, some others, who had been identified as being involved in the clash, would be taken into custody soon.
According to sources, a minor skirmish in the Old Hubli locality on Saturday night while putting some banners there might have been the reason for the clash.