Hundreds of people staged a protest in Sakleshpur on August 22 demanding the arrest of a Bajrang Dal activist for allegedly assaulting a Dalit who was transporting cattle for rearing.
The protesters, under the banner of Dalit Sangharsha Samiti and other pro-Dalit organisations, wanted the police to arrest the accused immediately and warn Bajrang Dal activists against cow vigilantism in the taluk.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Muralidhar and other officers spoke to the protesters.
Deepu, a Bajrang Dal activist, allegedly assaulted Manjunath, a former gram panchayat president of Halasulige, on August 20. Manjunath had purchased cattle from a farmer at Janekere. He was transporting the animals in a goods vehicle when the Deepu allegedly stopped the vehicle near the KSRTC bus stand in Sakleshpur and enquired if he had taken necessary permits to transport the cattle.
This led to an argument between the two.
“I had a letter issued by the gram panchayat to transport the cattle. But who is Deepu to question me? I told him that I would show the document only to the police. When I questioned him, he assaulted me,” Manjunath said.
Manjunath filed a complaint against Deepu the same evening.
A few pro-Dalit activists staged a protest in front of the police station demanding action against Bajrang Dal activists late in the evening.
Later, pro-Dalit activists and Bajrang Dal activists engaged in a heated argument in the town, which led to a minor clash. Both the groups have filed complaints against each other.
Hassan Superintendent of Police Hariram Shankar told The Hindu that the police had registered the case regarding the incident on August 20. “The accused, Deepu, is absconding and police are trying to trace him. We will not entertain cow vigilantism. If people notice any illegal transport of cattle, they have to inform the police. We will take action,” the officer said.