In an embarrassing turn of events for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the State government, a group of activists from the RSS’ student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) held a protest at Home Minister Araga Jnanendra’s official residence in Bengaluru on Saturday, demanding a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliates, who they alleged had a role in the murders of Hindutva activists.
Mr. Jnanendra was not at home when the activists came. They barged into the house, broke flower pots, kicked open the door, and had an altercation when the police stopped them. Activists shouted slogans against inaction against the culprits in the murders of Hindutva activists.
Soon security personnel arrived and brought the situation under control. They were detained and the J.C. Nagar police registered an FIR against 30 ABVP activists. They were released later on station bail.
‘I understand sentiment’
In a press statement, Mr. Jnanendra said he understands the sentiment expressed by the ABVP activists on banning the SDPI and the PFI. “The government is thinking about this,” he said. “Their demand is that such outfits should be banned in the wake of incidents like the D.J. Halli-K.G. Halli communal incidents in the city and the recent murder of BJP youth leader Praveen Nettaru,” he said, adding that he would invite them for talks.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Mr. Jnanendra reportedly pulled up the police and intelligence officials over intelligence failure and security breach. Police Commissioner C.H. Pratap Reddy ordered a probe into the security breach.
Given that trouble has been brewing in sections of the ruling BJP dominated by youths following the murder of party worker Praveen Nettaru, the city police are not taking any chances. Security has been beefed up at the residences of all Ministers in the city and zonal DCPs have been instructed to supervise security at all Ministers’ residences in their jurisdictions. At the Home Minister’s residence, a KSRP platoon has been deployed and nakabandi put up near the house to prevent further trouble.
‘Want to be among people’
Speaking at Sagar, the Minister said he had deliberately cut down the security cover as he was comfortable among people. “After the Chief Minister, I have got the highest security cover being the Home Minister. But I feel comfortable among people. I have reduced the number of policemen around me. I don’t want to be surrounded by policemen always. Even at my residence at Guddekoppa in Tirthahalli taluk, I do not have many policemen for my security,” he said.
Swami Marulapure, State organisation secretary, ABVP, told The Hindu that their protest was demanding a ban on the PFI and its affiliates and was not against the State government or Mr. Jnanendra.
PSI Raje Sab, who was in charge of J.C. Nagar Police Station in the absence of the inspector on Saturday, and head constable Srinivas Murthy, attached with the Special Branch and in charge of intelligence in the jurisdiction — who were found to have been caught off guard by the protests at the Home Minister’s residence during the probe — have been suspended for the security breach.