Bajrang Dal activist stabbed to death in K'taka's Shivamogga: Three arrested, NIA probe demanded
Shivamogga (Karnataka), Feb 21: A total of three persons have been arrested in connection with the murder of 23-year old Bajrang Dal activist Harsha in Shivamogga, said state home minister Araga Jnanendra. Police said that technical evidence is being gathered and that they have alerted teams in a few other districts, which are helping in tracing the culprits.
"We've not yet received any final report related to arrests. We've taken some people into custody. Inquiry going on. Very soon we'll get info related to the murder, that can be said only after investigation," said Jnanendra. "I met parents & sisters (of Harsha) & consoled them. They asked me for justice. I've assured them about bringing culprits to book. We have arrested 3 members. We don't want to disclose anything further at this point in time," he added.
BJP National Gen Secy CT Ravi, meanwhile, said he thinks the murder of the Bajrang Dal activist is a conspiracy. "A serious inquiry should be done. Govt will take up the issue seriously. If needed, case should be handed over to NIA," he added.
Harsha was stabbed to death in this district headquarters town, police said, as the administration clamped prohibitory orders for two days and announced a holiday for schools and colleges on Monday, following tension.
Harsha was allegedly attacked by unidentified assailants on Sunday night at the Ravi Varma lane in Bharathi Colony, they said.
The town, around 250 km from the state capital Bengaluru, had recently seen disruption in some colleges over the hijab row.
The reason behind the killing is not immediately known.
After the incident, some supporters of the deceased came out on the streets and vented their anger. Television footage showed them pelting stones but it was not clear what their target was.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters that he is hopeful about the arrest of the culprits soon. "The investigation has begun and some vital clues have been found. We are hopeful that soon the murderers would be arrested," Bommai told reporters in Bengaluru. He said he has given directions to police to ensure that no untoward incident happens anywhere.
"I want to tell the people of Shivamogga that we have taken steps to arrest the murderers at the earliest. No one should fall prey to the rumours. They should maintain law and order," Bommai said.
To a query on the leader of opposition and Congress leader Siddaramaiah demanding Home Minister Araga Jnanendra's resignation, the Chief Minister said Siddaramaiah "sees politics and talks illogical things".
Jnanendra, who rushed to Shivamogga and met the victim's family, told reporters that the police have got "vital clues" and would soon arrest those behind the incident. "A 23-year old youth has been killed. Such incidents should not happen. Police have got the clue and surely they (the accused) will be arrested soon. I appeal to people to maintain calm," the Home Minister told reporters. The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa, who is an MLA from Shivamogga, blamed 'Musalmaan Goondas' from his home district for the incident.
"Musalman Goondas have murdered our dedicated worker and a good boy of just 23 years, who was not even married. These Musalmans had never ever dared in Shivamogga," Eshwarappa said.
Eshwarappa also sought to point a finger ar the Congress state president D K Shivakumar saying "his statement emboldened the anti-social elements in the minority community".
"Due to D K Shivakumar's provocative statement that the tricolour was removed (recently) and the saffron flag was hoisted in the school ground in Shivamogga and 50 lakh saffron scarves were distributed, Musalmaan Goondas were emboldened," Eshwarappa said. He asserted that he will not allow "rowdyism" to happen in Shivamogga and such elements will be brought under control. He also said that he will see to it that all the "problems: of the family of the victim are addressed."
Sri Ram Sena convener Pramod Muthalik demanded a ban on the People's Front of India and Social Democratic Party of India. Deputy Commissioner Selvamani R told reporters that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have been clamped in the town and orders have been given to shut all the schools and colleges.
"Police are investigating the case and trying to find out the criminals. We are also working with them. Already Section 144 has been clamped in the entire city. So, we have announced a holiday for the schools and colleges," Selvamani said.
Superintendent of Police B M Lakshmi Prasad told reporters that a taskforce has been formed to track down those behind the incident. "Our priority is to find them and get them punished. We request people to cooperate with us and not to act emotionally," Prasad told reporters.