Monk's arrest turns into a controversy

The arrest of a Buddhist monk and four leaders of Dalit organisations on February 6 in Gulbarga district is snowballing into a major controversy with Dalit groupsand Buddhist monks from different parts of the country increasing pressure on the Government to withdraw the cases filed against them and release them unconditionally.

On Tuesday, more than 21 Buddhist monks from different parts of the country including Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and different parts of Karnataka including Bangalore, Bidar and Chamarajanagar, extended their support to the agitation, demanding the release of Bante Bhodidhamma and Dalit leaders Nagendra Jawali, Kishore Gaekwad, Santosh Melmani and Hanumanth Itagi, who were arrested on February 6.

Bail rejected

The police slapped cases under sections 153 (A), 295 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code against those arrested, and the jurisdictional JMFC court at Chitapur had remanded all the accused to judicial custody till February 16, rejecting their bail applications.

The bail application of the accused, which came up for hearing before the Fourth Additional District and Sessions Judge on Monday has been posted for hearing the objections of the prosecution on February 16.

State general secretary of the Dalit Sena Hanumanth Yelsangi told The Hindu in Gulbarga that eight Buddhist Monks from Gwalior, six from Nagpur in Maharashtra, three from Rajasthan, three from Bidar, two from Chamarajanagar and one from Bangalore participated in the indefinite dharna launched here on Monday.

“We will not rest till the unconditional release of Buddhist monk Bante Bhodidhamma and four other Dalit leaders, and until the State Government initiates action against the Assistant Commissioner of Sedam Sub-Division D, K. Ravi,” he said. The Government should also initiate action against Police Sub-Inspector Shrimant Illal, who was attached to the Wadi police station at the time of the monk's arrest.

The Dalit leader demanded that the Government book cases under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes Atrocities (Prevention) Act against Mr. Ravi and Mr. Illal.

‘We will not rest until their unconditional release'

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