Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Even as Karnataka showed signs of returning to normality on Wednesday, after the violence over publication of a controversial article by Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, police protection was provided to a few newspaper offices across the State as a precautionary measure.

“We have given security to newspaper offices only where necessary and from wherever requests have come,” Additional Commissioner of Bangalore City Police M.R. Pujar told The Hindu.

The article on burqa first appeared in a national English magazine in January 2007. A Kannada daily's publication of a translation in its Sunday magazine on February 28, drew the ire of a section of the Muslim community Though the translation was largely true to the original, a news report appearing on the front page of an Urdu daily on Monday, criticised it as anti-Islamic. This is believed to have fanned religious sentiments in various parts of the State, including Shimoga and Hassan.

Shimoga — also the hometown of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa — was the worst affected. Protesting mobs there spiralled out of control, leading to the death of two persons, including one in police firing.

Meanwhile, the police have filed cases against the Kannada and the Urdu dailies. “We have booked cases under sections I53A, 153B and 295A of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) against both the newspapers for provoking the public and causing misunderstanding between two communities,” said Mr. Pujar.

Subsequently, the two newspapers carried reports regretting the publication of the articles in their respective newspapers.

An editor of the Urdu newspaper told The Hindu that their intention was not to provoke, but to only inform people about the allegedly inflammatory article appearing in the Kannada newspaper.

State is worse than Gujarat: Gowda

PTI reports from New Delhi

In a scathing attack, Janata Dal (Secular) chief H.D. Deve Gowda on Wednesday described BJP-ruled Karnataka as “worse than Gujarat” as far as violent incidents related to religious discrimination were concerned.

Reacting to Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's statement that the last two days' violence in Shimoga and Hassan were due to certain “selfish elements,” Mr. Gowda said ever since the BJP began its rule in the State, incidents of religion-related violence had only increased.

“In terms of religious discrimination, Karnataka is worse than Gujarat. When Yeddyurappa had taken oath as Chief Minister two years back, he had promised to give the State, Gujarat-style governance. All the incidents of burning of churches in the State and religion-related violence are examples of his Modi-style of functioning,” Mr. Gowda told reporters here.

On Yeddyurappa blaming “selfish elements” for spreading violence in the State, Mr. Gowda said, “had he known how to run the government, he would not have made such a comment.”

Shimoga and Hassan (home districts of Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Gowda respectively) witnessed violent incidents on March 1 and 2, over an article purportedly written by Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.

The violence left two persons dead, including one in police firing.

Ms. Nasreen has denied having written any article for any Karnataka-based newspaper. — PTI