Police cite attempts to explode petrol bombs to stop Sringeri literary meet


Organisers of the Chikkamagaluru District Kannada Sahitya Sammelana, which was opposed by Kannada and Culture Minister C.T. Ravi and a few right-wing groups, were told by the local police to stop the event midway because of “attempts by miscreants to explode petrol bombs” in the temple town.

Questions have been raised about why the police did not take action against these miscreants instead of forcing the organisers to cancel the event.

The two-day literary event, presided over by writer and activist Kalkuli Vittal Heggade, was inaugurated on Friday. The police, who had earlier denied permission for the programme, repeatedly intervened at the programme to stop it. A few people, who were opposed to the choice of Mr. Heggade as president, also staged protests. The police took around 80 protesters into custody and released them later. In the evening, the police served a notice on the organisers, asking them to cancel the second day’s programmes.

In the notice, the police claimed that there had been attempts by protesters to burst tyres and explode petrol bombs in Sringeri town to disturb the event, all successfully averted by the police. To avoid any further untoward incident, the event should be called off, they said. They also warned of action against the organisers and participants if they went ahead with the second day’s programmes. The police further said that more than 1,000 people from across the district might land in Sringeri to stop the event.

Eventually, MLA for Sringeri T.D. Raje Gowda, president of the event’s reception committee, decided to cancel the second day’s programmes.

Referring to the police notice, Congress leader V.S. Ugrappa asked if the State government was incapable of ensuring the safe hosting of a Kannada literary event. Senior journalist Dinesh Amin Mattu said that going by the content of the notice, one could conclude that law and order had collapsed in the State.

When The Hindu asked Chikkamagaluru Superintend of Police Harish Pandey if any case was registered under the Explosives Act, given the police claim that attempts to explode petrol bombs had been stopped, he said, “We reached the spot of preparation [of petrol bombs] and were able to disperse them. We found some evidence of bomb preparation. Police action will be intimated in due course.”

Kannada Sahitya Parishat district unit president Kundur Ashok said a decision on conducting the second day’s programmes another day was yet to be taken. “I am glad many people contributed funds for the programme,” he said. With the Parishat refusing to the fund the programme citing Mr. Ravi’s opposition, the organisers had crowd-sourced funds.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 10:07:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/police-cite-attempts-to-explode-petrol-bombs-to-stop-sringeri-literary-meet/article30545126.ece

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