KARNATAKA

One killed, 13 hurt as farmers resort to violent protests in Haveri

Karnataka Bureau

Yeddyurappa says genuine farmers were not involved in the protests

HAVERI/BANGALORE: One person was killed and 13 were injured in police firing and lathi-charge that followed protests by farmers in Haveri district on Tuesday.

Deputy Commissioner of Haveri P.S. Vastrad gave the name of the deceased as Siddalingappa Choori (34) of Haveri. However he denied that there was police firing and said that only tear-gas shells were lobbed to disperse the crowd. When contacted, District Surgeon Marekkanavar told The Hindu that some of the injured had sustained bullet injuries. He said seven injured persons were shifted to Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) Hospital. Of the seven, the condition of three was serious. According to eyewitnesses, the main reason for the protests was that in spite of having been issued tokens, the farmers were not given fertilizers. Hundreds of farmers had lined up in front of the fertilizer shops.

When fertilizers were not given to them, they resorted to a rasta roko. Violent protests were reported in Bankapur, Shiggaon, Motebennur and Haveri, which are connected by the Pune-Bangalore National Highway. Consequently, vehicular movement was paralysed for almost half a day. The protesters torched two buses in Motebennur and one bus in Haveri.

They also pushed two buses into a roadside ditch and damaged several buses by throwing stones.

Several shops were including fertilizer shops were looted during the protests at Shiggaon and Bankapur. The police had to lob tear gas shells to control the mob. In Motebennur too, the police had to lob tear gas shells to disperse the crowd and to bring the situation under control.

At Haveri, trouble started after the police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd which had started pelting stones at shops around the NWKRTC Bus Stand.

When the protesters didn’t budge the police lobbed tear gas shells. But the protestors continued throwing stones.

However, the situation was still tense and additional police forces were deployed as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa did not express regret over the incident. Maintaining that “genuine farmers” were not involved in the ongoing violent protests against shortage of fertilizers, he warned that stern action would be taken against those who try to take the law into their own hands.