'Religion before political career,' says BJP MP Pratap Simha day after clashes in Mysuru
A day after his arrest led to violent clashes in Mysuru, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Yuva Morcha chief Pratap Simha said that protecting his religion came first. Simha was arrested on Sunday at Bilikere by the Mysuru rural police after he attempted to breach police barricade to take part in a religious procession at Hunsur.
Pratap Simha who was travelling by his official car to Mysuru was stopped at a check-post. Angry at not being allowed to proceed and take part in Hanuman Jayanti celebrations, which was already prohibited by the police, the MP took the wheel and rammed his vehicle into a barricade. He proceeded another 20 kms when his vehicle was stopped once again by the police. Simha was arrested and booked under IPC sections 353 for assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty and 279 for rash driving or riding in a public way and violating police orders. He was released hours later.
Released. But protecting my religion n tradition is much more important and above than my political future.— Pratap Simha (@mepratap) December 3, 2017
His arrest led to violent protests in Mysuru where his supporters gathered at a temple and shouted slogans against the police and Siddaramaiah led Congress government in the state. The MP was to led a Hanuman Jayanti celebration but was arrested en route. Police took to mild lathi-charge to disperse the protesting crowds when they retaliated by pelting stones.
Protesters damaged two buses and attacked policemen on duty. Violent clashes were witnessed at various places but the situation was brought under control. The bone of contention was how the police allowed Eid-Milad celebrations on Saturday including processions but refused to grant permission for Hanuman Jayanti rally.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah maintained that there was no discrimination but only preventive measures since the BJP wanted to take a rally along a certain route that could lead to tension. He added that Simha was only attempting to politicise the issue but the state government was not in a position to remain a mute spectator.