Congress workers were protesting filing of cases against Shivakumar's kin
BANGALORE: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses were stoned in Kanakapura town in Bangalore Rural district on Thursday by a group of people who were protesting against the registering of cases by the Forest Department against the family members of Congress leader and former Minister D.K. Shivakumar.
According to the police, around 500 people, said to be Congress workers and supporters of Mr. Shivakumar, took to the streets in Kanakapura and pelted stones at buses at Kurupet, Ambedkar Colony and Ramanagara Road. Five buses were damaged and the driver and conductor of a bus were injured.
The protesters also attempted to set fire to a bus at Ambedkar Colony. As the protesters started targeting the buses, the KSRTC suspended services in Kanakapura and neighbouring villages till afternoon, the police said.
The workers, led by Kanakapura Block Congress Committee president Krishna Murthy, took out a procession through the main roads in the town.
At several places, the activists placed tyres on the road and set them on fire. As tension prevailed in the town, many shops and business establishments downed shutters. Normal life was affected till the afternoon, the police said.
Before dispersing, the Congress workers held a demonstration in front of the Forest Department office and raised slogans against Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Protest meetings were also held at Harohalli, Sathnur and Kodihalli in Kanakapura taluk.
Senior police officials are camping in Kanakapura. Four platoons of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) have been deployed in the town.
Mr. Shivakumar is MLA for Sathnur constituency in Kanakapura taluk, which is considered his stronghold.
Congress workers on Thursday staged a demonstration in the city.
Nearly 2,000 people, who came in groups from Mr. Shivakumar's Sadashivanagar residence and the Congress office, gathered near the BDA office on Sankey Road. When they tried to march towards the Chief Minister's residence, the police stopped them.
After heated exchanges with the police, the Congress activists, led by the party MLAs Dinesh Gundu Rao, M.R. Seetharam, K. Chandrashekar and N.L. Narendra Babu, took out a procession to the Congress office on Queen's Road.
They raised slogans against Mr. Kumaraswamy and the Janata Dal (Secular) president and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. During the procession, some persons pelted stones at two BMTC buses on Sankey Road and Queen's Road. Traffic was affected all along the procession route.
After they reached the Congress office, KPCC president M. Mallikarjun Kharge addressed the protesters.
Mr. Kharge alleged that Mr. Kumaraswamy was using the mining issue to tarnish the image of Mr. Shivakumar and prevent him from campaigning in the Chamundeshwari Assembly byelection.
He said the Deve Gowda family had got the cases registered against Mr. Shivakumar's kin to settle political scores."Mr. Deve Gowda and his family members should realise that those living in glass houses should not throw stones at others. They have to come out of the illusion that they will be in power permanently," Mr. Kharge remarked.
The State Government claimed that the Forest Department had booked cases on the basis of the report submitted by C. Chennigappa, Minister for Forests, on illegal mining. If that was the case, the Government should make public the cases that had been registered against others on the basis of the report, Mr. Kharge demanded.
The Congress would hold rallies across the State to protest the registering of the cases, he said.
Referring to a letter by Mr. Shivakumar to the Congress high command seeking a CBI probe into the mining issue, Mr. Kharge said the party would discuss the letter.
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh said the Congress would not be cowed down by such acts.
"We will fight the matter legally and politically," he remarked.