People have been protesting against mining around temple at Honnebagi
Equipment of mining companies set afire
40 farmers hurt in police lathi-charge
Tumkur: C.N. Halli in Tumkur district was rocked by violence on Thursday when people set fire to the equipment of mining companies near a place of worship and farmers looted fertilizers from an outlet and damaged three buses, in different incidents.
The people have been protesting against mining around the Abbige Malleshwara Temple at Honnebagi in C.N. Halli taluk.
The people of Honnebagi, Bullenahalli, Gollarahatti, Manchikatte and Jogihalli have been on a protest on the top of the hills since Monday.
Around 8 a.m., over a thousand people were climbing the hills to reach the temple to continue dharna. Minutes before they reached the place, some miscreants set fire to mining equipment on the hills. The police attempt to foil their plan failed.
Seven companies are officially engaged in the mining in the area. Several others are also into illegal mining on the hills and around it. At least ten huge machines (JCB brand), five stone-crushers, and some tents, where workers lived, were set on fire. There was no attempt to extinguish the fire either by the mining staff or the police. The equipment were destroyed. Four years ago, the mining companies had given an undertaking to the people that they would not take up mining 200 metres around the temple and that they would donate liberally towards creating basic infrastructure in the these villages.
H.M. Surendraiah, B.N. Shivaprakash, Basavaraju, Erannaiah, Sarveshwara, Ramesh, and Sridhar, are leading the people’s agitation against mining. According to them, the mining companies failed to keep their word. Mining was on within 50 metres of the religious place and the temple structure faced danger.
Superintendent of Police Harsha P.S. persuaded the agitators to go down the hill and participate in a peace committee meeting. The people argued that they were not responsible for the arson and alleged that it was the handiwork of the agents of the companies.
Deputy Commissioner C. Somashekhara directed the officials of the Department of Mines and Geology to convene a meeting of the people and the mining company representatives on August 2 at the temple and sort out the issue. There was some confusion as initially the incident was linked to the ongoing farmers’ agitation in the district against shortage of fertilizers.
At Nehru Circle, the police burst tear gas shells and lathi-charged farmers. Forty farmers were injured.