Amid tight security, for the first time, the national flag was hoisted at the hotly contested Idgah Maidan in Chamarajpet, Bengaluru on Monday.
Assistant Commissioner M.G. Shivanna hoisted the flag, where Bengaluru Central MP P.C. Mohan and Chamarajpet MLA B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan were present at the event. The event went on peacefully with around 850 police personnel guarding the ground.
According to Laxman B. Nibargi, DCP (West), who was present at the event, over 850 police personnel, including Rapid Action Force commandos and eight platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), have been deployed at the grounds, and high security will be present around the ground for the full day. The city police have also reportedly put the ground under constant surveillance of over 100 CCTV cameras.
The State Government had directed the Assistant Commissioner of Bengaluru North to hoist the national flag and celebrate Independence Day at Idgah Maidan after the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) recently declared the Revenue Department as the default owner of the land.
After the event, Mr. Zameer Ahmed Khan said, “I am happy that the national flag has been hoisted at the Idgah Maidan today. Two months back, when the ground was under the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf, I had announced that I will celebrate and hoist the national flag in the Idgah Maidan for Independence Day and Republic Day. I also announced earlier Karnataka flag will also be hoisted for Kannada Rajyotsava on November 1.”
Meanwhile, some right-wing organisations gathered near the ground and celebrated the event by shouting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai‘‘ slogans. Students from Chamarajpet Government School performed cultural activities at the event.
Earlier, Revenue Minister R. Ashok said that Revenue Department owns the Idgah Maidan, and it would decide on allowing any kind of activity, including the Ganesh festival, on August 31.
The impasse between the BBMP and the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf over the embattled Idgah Maidan saw a breakthrough on August 6 with the civic body, dismissing the petition filed by the Waqf Board for a khata in its favour, declared the Karnataka Revenue Department to be the default owner of the land.
The land ownership dispute, which erupted in May-June this year, saw the BBMP initially claiming that the maidan was a civic property, while Muslim organisations argued that the land was a gazetted wakf property. Pending a resolution, the BBMP had clarified that no official permission would be given for any event on the ground, including those sought by Hindutva organisations to conduct activities on Independence Day.