Special Correspondent

Shimoga: Members of the Pragatipara Sanghatenagala Okkoota staged a demonstration at Ripponpet on Monday to protest against the recommendation of the Ripponpet Gram Panchayat in Hosanagar taluk to the district administration to banish T.R. Krishnappa, a social activist and a crusader against corruption, from the village.

The gram panchayat members had taken objection to Mr. Krishnappa inaugurating public toilet complex a few days ago. Though public toilets in Ripponpet village had been constructed six months ago, they were not available for public use as a formal inauguration had not been done. It is alleged that the gram panchayat members were coming in the way of inauguration of the complex. So, Mr. Krishnappa had organised an alternative inauguration programme.

But sources say that what angered the gram panchayat members was Mr. Krishnappa’s attempt to bring to light the alleged irregularities in the construction of the public toilets as part of the Total Sanitation Campaign and the percolation pits under the rainwater harvesting scheme.

Mr. Krishnappa had also brought the alleged encroachment of the public land to the notice of the Government and the Lokayukta.

Following the gram panchayat’s resolution on February 21, several progressive organisations extended their support to Mr. Krishnappa and criticised the gram panchayat’s decision. During the protest meeting on Monday, social activist Kalkuli Vittal Hegde termed the resolution as unfair and criticised the gram panchayat’s attitude and added that no other panchayat had taken any such harsh action since independence.

Activist K.P. Sripal said instead of decentralisation of power, it had become decentralisation of corruption against which Krishnappa led a movement.

According to the in-charge Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat, Hemachandra, the gram panchayat does not have any right to make such a recommendation.

Mr. Sripal said only the police and the judiciary can banish a person from the village.

Members of the Pragatipara Sanghatenagala Okkoota K.L. Ashok, Sarjashankar Haralimath, Shivanand Kugve, Seetaram Kuruvari, S.S. Nagaraj, Nempe Devaraj and others participated in the protest demonstration.