3 stabbed; ban orders at Lakshmeshwar

BANGALORE, DEC 30. Three people were stabbed and at least 20 petty shops set afire at Lakshmeshwar in Gadag District following a clash between people belonging to two communities.

One person was stabbed on Saturday night soon after the trouble erupted during a "urs." The injured youth has been admitted to the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubli.

Fresh violence was witnessed around 11 a.m. on Sunday when an armed group went on a rampage, set fire to more than 20 shops and stabbed two people.

Police said that the group also took to stone throwing. As situation seemed to go out of control, additional police forces were rushed from Gadag, Haveri, and Dharwad.

The situation is now peaceful, and police have clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

As the Gadag District Superintendent of Police is on leave, the Dharwad District SP, Mr. Nanjunda Swamy, is camping at Lakshmeshwar and monitoring the situation.

According to the local people, trouble erupted late on Saturday night when a "qawali" programme was to commence as part of an ongoing "urs". The local MLA, who participated in the "urs", was almost heckled by the members of an organisation who were "upset" over the removal of a flag that was tied to a tree next to a place of worship.

The members of that orgainsation demanded that the flag be re-hoisted on the tree. After the MLA left the place, people belonging to a particular community chased the youths who were pressing for hoisting the flag.

A youth, said to be a member of the organisation, was stabbed. He was rushed to the KIMS. However, the alleged inaction of the police in bringing the situation under control late last night led to further violence on Sunday.

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