Communal clash in Bagalkot district, nine arrested

A policeman stands guard at the vegetable market in Kerur where a mob set fire to a push cart on July 6, 2022.

A policeman stands guard at the vegetable market in Kerur where a mob set fire to a push cart on July 6, 2022.

Bagalkot district police have arrested nine persons in connection with a group clash at Kerur in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said on July 7.

Police sources, however, said that 18 persons from Kerur and surrounding areas were taken into custody in connection with the incident.

Earlier on July 6 night, four persons were injured, some push carts and vehicles were torched in Kerur in the group clash near the bus stand. Arun Kattimani, Lakshman Kattimani and Chungi Yamanur were stabbed while Bande Nawaz Gokak suffered a head injury. All four were admitted to a local hospital, and are said to be out of danger.

At least 10 push carts and five vehicles were torched by angry mobs. J.B. Majjigi, Tahsildar, Badami, clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC from July 6 Wednesday night to July 8 Friday night. All schools and colleges in the town will remain closed on July 7-8.

Superintendent of Police S. Jayaprakash and Deputy commissioner P. Sunil Kumar visited Kerur.

What could have triggered the clash

According to the tahsildar, an argument between Arun Kattimani and Yasin Pendari turned into an incident of communal violence.

While the police maintain that the trigger was the harassment of a woman, some others insisted that the fight was over a social media post by a woman doctor.

The doctor allegedly posted a message opposing former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s statement against Prophet Mohammad, and questioned the inaction against her. This allegedly angered members of a right-wing group who went to the police seeking arrest of the doctor. The local police did not entertain them and refused to register an FIR.

Push carts and vehicles torched in Kerur group clash
Police try to douse the fire set to a push cart in the vegetable market in Kerur town, Bagalkot district on July 7. | Video Credit: Special Arrangement

Arun Kattimani was part of the group that tried to file a complaint against the doctor. Another group allegedly questioned Arun for taking up the issue with the police. That led to a clash, according to a police officer.

"My son Arun was the district secretary of a Hindutva organisation. He would often go to police stations and other offices to resolve disputes and protect young boys who were being falsely accused of a crime,’’ Ramanna Kattimani said at the hospital where the injured were admitted. "They targeted my son, as they want to stop the rise of Hindutva forces in Kerur,’’ he added.

Hindu Jagran Vedike called for a bundh in Kerur on July 8 Friday and in Bagalkot on July 9 Saturday to protest against the alleged attack on two of their cadres in Kerur.

P. Kumar Swamy, a leader of the Hindu Jagran Vedike, has sought action against the accused, failing which he threatened direct action by the organisation.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 7:50:56 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/four-injured-in-communal-clash-in-bagalkot-district/article65610437.ece