Jaideep Shenoy

Nagaraj Shetty said he has directed the police to deal sternly with troublemakers irrespective of their affiliation to religious organisations

MANGALORE: There is no need for the minorities in Dakshina Kannada district to be perturbed by isolated incidents of attacks on prayer halls or on individuals. There is also no question of ruling party MLAs coming to the aid of mischief mongers, Minister for Fisheries, Religious Endowment, Horticulture and district in charge B. Nagaraj Shetty has said.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a review meeting here on Thursday, Mr. Shetty said he had directed the police to deal sternly with troublemakers irrespective of their affiliation to any religious organisations.

Asserting that police had a free hand to deal with anti-social elements, Mr. Shetty said: "There is no question of my interfering in police matters or giving directions to them in dealing with issues.

My only instruction to them is to investigate any such incident impartially and not be prejudiced by the history of organisations reportedly involved in the attacks." Mr. Shetty's observation is significant as MP H.T. Sangliana, who also belongs to the same party (BJP) as Mr. Shetty, has expressed concern over attacks on prayer halls here and at Bantwal allegedly by Hindu organisations.

"I have spoken to Mr. Sangliana in this regard and also assured him that the interests of the minorities will be protected at all costs,'' he said.

"I have also taken up the issue with my Cabinet colleague Iqbal Ansari. We will instruct police to sternly deal with elements carrying out attacks on prayer halls," he said.

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