Pamphlets at Aland cause a flutter

GULBARGA DEC. 4. The Karnataka Home Minister, Mallikarjun Kharge, on Wednesday took serious note of pamphlets circulated by the Aland Taluk Hindu Jagruti Samiti (ATHJS) calling for an economic boycott of Muslims and directed the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police to identify those who circulated the pamphlet and initiate action. When presspersons brought to his notice the circulation of the pamphlets, a surprised Mr. Kharge said the district administration would step up its intelligence gathering to identify the culprits.

The pamphlet warns Hindus against buying any commodity from shops owned by Muslims. It says Hindu shopkeepers should not sell any products to Muslims and that those who violate this `fiat' will be fined Rs. 500. It also says Hindu farmers should not sell their produce to Muslim wholesale agents and that Hindus should not engage Muslims for any work in their shops or houses.

The pamphlet, addressing the people of Aland taluk, alleges that Muslims are illegally constructing a masjid inside the Sriram Market complex with political backing. It states that originally the palace of Chandrasena was located in the area where the Sriram Market had come up. The Government took over the land and decided to construct a shopping complex. There was no masjid at the spot.

Mr. Kharge asked the Deputy Commissioner, M. Lakshminarayan, to identify the press that printed the pamphlet and then track down the person who issued it as it had the potential to create communal tension in Aland. He appealed to the Hindus and the Muslims in the town not to fall prey to the designs of the communal elements.

Referring to the bandh called by the Bajrang Dal and the VHP in Aland on Saturday, he said Ramadan was likely to be observed on Saturday and therefore the bandh should be called off. He directed the district administration to post more police in Aland on Friday and Saturday. Mr. Kharge said that steps would be taken throughout the State to prevent any untoward incident on Friday, which was being observed as a "victory day" by the Sangh Parivar.

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