Kamaripet tense but peaceful

HUBLI, FEB. 26. The situation in Kamaripet, a locality in Hubli which witnessed a clash between the police and makers of fake liquor on Wednesday, is tense but peaceful, according to official sources.

The police opened fire in the air when they could not control the mob with lathi-charge and teargas shelling. Three vehicles were damaged and three police officers suffered injuries. According to the police, 14 persons have been taken into custody. A printing press which was used to make fake labels was seized.

Kamaripet is known as an important centre for makers of fake liquor, and the effort made by the Hubli Dharwad police to end the activity from the area has frequently led to friction between the police and those involved in the fake liquor trade. While police claim to have freed Kamaripet from the menace, people feel the activity is still going on.

Some of the liquor makers have shifted to other localities, it is learnt.

There is concern over Wednesday's incident as the Holi festival, which witnesses communal violence, is hardly a fortnight away. However, the police say that they are ready to cope with any situation and ensure that the Holi celebrations are peaceful.

The Commissioner of Police, Hubli Dharwad, K.V. Gagandeep, said today that the police were planning to ban the entry of three persons including Sanjiv Katwe of Hubli to the twin cities as part of the drive against the fake liquor trade at Kamaripet.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Gagandeep said the police had recovered arrack and spirit valued at Rs. 9 lakh from the premises and godowns allegedly owned by Katwe in the ninth raid conducted by the police on the premises.

Mr. Gagandeep claimed that the police had been able to curb the manufacture of fake liquor at Kamaripet. It appeared that fake liquor was made in rural areas and stored at Kamaripet. A joint operation with the assistance of the Superintendent of Police, Dharwad, against this was planned. The police were involving the provisions of the Goonda Act against those involved, he added.