Correspondent

It was part of Haliyal segment represented by R.V. Deshpande

‘Congress does not want to be seen as appeasing the minorities’

Karwar: Sunday’s communal violence at Mundgod appears to have jolted the people of the region. Muslims are predominant in the town, which is closer to Hubli than Karwar. The sleepy town has been known for communal harmony.

What triggered the violence was an attack on Holi procession. While S. Krishnamurthy, regional convener of Hindu Jagarana Vedike, said it was pre-planned, Muslim leaders blamed Hindu groups for provoking minorities by throwing colour and raising a slogan before a place of worship.

The vedike said some youths from Savanur town of neighbouring Haveri district, who were hiding in Mundgod to evade arrest relating to the recent communal clashes at Savanur, caused the trouble.

Attacked

During the violence, houses of political leaders were attacked.

The house of Congress leader M.F. Bendigri was allegedly attacked. Another Congress leader and Holi celebration committee president Kollannanvar’s house was also stoned.

Mundgod was part of Haliyal Assembly Constituency before the delimitation (now it is included in the Yellapur Assembly Constituency) and was represented by KPCC president R.V. Deshapande for over 25 years.

The cold reaction of the Congress to the violence has come as a surprise to many. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including its district secretary, were arrested by the police on the charge of rioting.

Sources in the Congress said that the party did not want to be seen as appeasing the minorities and thereby give ammunition to the BJP. Prashant Deshapande, son of Mr. R.V. Deshapande, is the party candidate in the Lok Sabha elections. Any statement condemning the violence would be projected as appeasement by the BJP as had happened in the case of Bhatkal riots, the sources said.

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