KARNATAKA

Writers, artistes attacked at Birur

HASSAN, APRIL 24. Volunteers of Sahiti Kalavidara Vedike, a forum comprising writers and artistes, who were campaigning in Birur on Friday, were attacked allegedly by BJP workers, according to reports reaching here.

The reports said that Pratibha Nandakumar, writer, and Nagaraja Murthy and Hospet Abdulla, theatre personalities, were manhandled by some persons identified as BJP workers when the volunteers of the vedike were appealing to people against voting for the BJP. It is learnt that the pamphlets being distributed by the activists were set on fire.

K. Marulasiddappa, Ms. Pratibha Nandakumar, and R.G. Halli Nagaraj, who addressed a press conference this afternoon, said they had approached the police seeking protection. They said the police had granted them permission to conduct a campaign. However, the volunteers of the vedike were attacked when they getting ready to stage a play to educate voters, L. Hanumanthaiah, writer and an eyewitness to the incident, said.

Our Bangalore Staff Reporter writes:

"It is not Bharat Uday (India Rising) but Prajaprabhutvada Asta (doom of democracy)." This was how leading artistes and writers termed the attack on volunteers of the Sahiti Kalavidara Vedike at Birur.

The activists, who staged a demonstration before the Town hall here on Saturday evening, said the incident undermined Indian culture, of which the attackers were claiming to be torchbearers.

Well known writer and actor, Girish Karnad, said the Birur incident was a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

The attack on the volunteers and the burning of pamphlets showed the "goonda" culture of the party which claimed to rule the country, he said.

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