Protests over Shivakumar’s arrest caused huge property losses, Karnataka HC told

The State government on Monday told the High Court of Karnataka that properties valued around ₹82 crore were damaged during bandhs and protests organised opposing the arrest of former Minister D.K. Shivakumar in various parts of the State between September 3 and 11, 2019.

A statement was submitted before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar during the hearing of PIL petitions seeking action to recover damages from those who gave bandh calls and organised protests opposing Mr. Shivakumar’s arrest in September 2019, and from those who gave bandh calls between January and April 2018 in connection with Mahadayi river water dispute.

Advocate-General Prabhuling K. Navadgi told the Bench that 18 FIRs were registered for offences such as unlawful assembly, rioting, and damage to public property against several persons in connection with protests over the senior Congress leader’s arrest. As many as 11 FIRs — three in Kanakapura Town police station, six in Sathanur station, and two in Kodihalli station — were registered in Ramanagaram district alone, while seven others were registered in Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Mandya, and Chickballapur.

Shankar, a member of Ramanagaram Zilla Panchayat, Dhananjaya, a member of Kanakapura Taluk Panchayat, and Kabbale Gowda, an employee of Kanakapura rural college, were among the accused named in the FIRs, the government said. The statement also pointed out that investigation into six of the 11 cases in Ramanagaram was complete and charge-sheets had been submitted for scrutiny before the assistant public prosecutors.

The statement was submitted in response to the court’s September 27, 2019 order asking the government to state the action taken on a representation given by Ravikumar Kanchanahalli, a native of Ramanagaram district, naming certain individuals for holding protests and bandh. The police identified some of the accused based on video footage recorded on CCTV cameras and by both police personnel and citizens.

The HC Bench has adjourned hearing on the matter till February 3.

Law to deal with damage

The State government also told the High Court that it was in the process of framing legislation to deal with the destruction of property during protests and bandhs. The law will be in keeping with the guidelines and directions issued by the Supreme Court in the case of ‘Kodungallur Film Society Vs. Union of India’ and other judgments.

“The draft Bill has been submitted to the Department of Parliamentary Affairs and Legislation for vetting and further process,” the government said.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 5:36:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/protests-over-shivakumars-arrest-caused-huge-losses-hc-told/article30670087.ece

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