Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Two witnesses who deposed before the Kedambadi Jagannath Shetty Commission of Inquiry on Monday defended the police firing in Haveri on June 10, 2008, arguing that it was done to save public property and the lives of 25 policemen in a nearby van.

Dinesh Shetty and Ashok Manjunatha Shetty, owners of two hotels in the area defended the police action.

Mr. Shetty said Choori and Puttappa Honnatti were throwing stones at a KSRTC bus near Magavi petrol station. Bystanders and policemen prevented the miscreants from setting fire to the bus. Had they not opened fire, the miscreants would have burnt the petrol station, buses and the diesel outlet inside the KSRTC depot, he said.

Mr. Shetty said the miscreants were not farmers. When the mob did not heed to the appeals of the Superintendent of Police, the police resorted to lathi-charge and burst teargas shells. The mob beat up a policeman and attacked a police van, injuring the driver. When all attempts to control the mob failed, the police opened fire, killing Choori on the spot.