Widespread protests, political slugfest follow Neha Hiremath’s murder

Various groups, including members of the Muslim community, demand capital punishment for the accused

April 19, 2024 08:53 pm | Updated April 20, 2024 09:57 am IST - HUBBALLI/ BELAGAVI

A large number of students, under the aegis of ABVP, staging a protest before KLE Technological University in Hubballi on Friday, seeking the death penalty for the accused in the Neha Hiremath murder case.

A large number of students, under the aegis of ABVP, staging a protest before KLE Technological University in Hubballi on Friday, seeking the death penalty for the accused in the Neha Hiremath murder case. | Photo Credit: Kiran Bakale

The shocking murder of MCA student Neha Hiremath on the university campus in Hubballi led to widespread protests in different places in the region with members of various organisations and different communities including Muslims coming on the streets condemning the incident and seeking capital punishment for the accused.

Hubballi witnessed a huge protest by students led by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishat (ABVP) in front of KLE Technological University, where the murder took place. Students gathered in large numbers condemning the incident and seeking a death sentence of the murder accused Fayaz.

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Considering the sensitivity of the issue, the police had imposed restrictions on vehicular movement on the main road near the university and all vehicles were diverted via alternate routes till afternoon. Members of Dalit organisations too held protests at the same venue seeking stringent punishment for the accused.

Labour Minister Santosh Lad, former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and others met the family members of Neha Hiremath and consoled them on Friday. Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, MLAs Mahesh Tenginakai, Arvind Bellad and Congress MLA Prasad Abbayya had met the family on Thursday night.

A large number of students, under the aegis of ABVP, staging a protest before KLE Technological University in Hubballi on Friday, seeking the death penalty for the accused in the Neha Hiremath murder case.

A large number of students, under the aegis of ABVP, staging a protest before KLE Technological University in Hubballi on Friday, seeking the death penalty for the accused in the Neha Hiremath murder case. | Photo Credit: Kiran Bakale

Speaking to presspersons after meeting the family, Mr. Lad said such incidents were highly condemnable and emphasised the need for a law allowing encounter in such cases so that it would be a lesson for others. The Minister also said that such incidents should not be used for gaining political mileage. He said he could speak on similar incidents during the BJP rule but it was not the time for it and those trying to politicise the issue should behave responsibly in such a sensitive time.

Earlier former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who also met the family, termed the crime a dangerous one as more such incidents were being reported under the Congress rule. The recurrence of daylight murders had given an impression that anti-social elements were being given protection by the ruling disposition and it was indication of a collapse of law and order. Mr. Bommai urged the government to get the case investigated by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to unravel the truth.

Apology sought

Meanwhile, there was high drama during the funeral procession of Neha Hiremath as it was stopped for a while by BJP functionaries led by MLA Mahesh Tenginakai and others who wanted apology from Home Minister G. Parameshwara for terming the murder as an accidental incident. However, a little later, elders intervened to allow the continuation of the procession. A large number of people took part in the funeral.

MLA Prasad Abbayya, who also took part in the funeral, said he would endorse the demand for capital punishment as it would send a clear message to the society.

Munavalli bandh

Meanwhile, in Munavalli of Belagavi district, to which the accused Fayaz belongs, saw a voluntary bandh by the residents with a large number of Muslims and people from different communities staging demonstrations seeking a death sentence for the accused.

Members of Muslim organisations and others protesting in Munavalli in Belagavi district on Friday, demanding capital punishment for the accused in the Hubballi murder case.

Members of Muslim organisations and others protesting in Munavalli in Belagavi district on Friday, demanding capital punishment for the accused in the Hubballi murder case. | Photo Credit: P.K. Badiger

The protesters gathered at the town square and shouted slogans against the offence and the accused. They said that the incident was a blot on the name of Munavalli. “It is a matter of insult for all of us. We appeal to the police and judiciary not to show any mercy to the accused,” Mohammad Syed, community leader, said. He said that members of various religions and caste groups had joined the protest rally.

Meanwhile, Satish Jarkiholi, district in-charge Minister, condemned the incident and said that this was a heinous offence that made every one hang their head in shame. “Now that the police have arrested the accused, peace should prevail. No one should politicise the incident. The law should take its own course,” he said.

Anjuman’s plea

Anjuman-E-Islam, a representative body of the Muslims, has also demanded stringent punishment for the accused. A delegation of the Anjuman office-bearers submitted a memorandum addressed to the Police Commissioner to the police authorities seeking capital punishment to the accused.

A large number of students, under the aegis of ABVP, staging a protest before KLE Technological University in Hubballi on Friday, seeking the death penalty for the accused in the Neha Hiremath murder case.

A large number of students, under the aegis of ABVP, staging a protest before KLE Technological University in Hubballi on Friday, seeking the death penalty for the accused in the Neha Hiremath murder case. | Photo Credit: Kiran Bakale

Meanwhile ABVP has given a call for a statewide protest on the incident on Saturday.

Father’s threat

In a related development, the father of the girl and Congress councillor Niranjan Hiremath has taken exception to Home Minister G. Parameshwar’s statement on the case and appealed to him not to demean his family’s respect by making irresponsible statements without proper confirmation.

Mr. Hiremath also warned that if the Home Minister continued making such false statements, then he would take the extreme step of ending his life, terming the Home Minister and the Chief Minister as being responsible for his act.

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