Ban on gatherings in Karnataka town after clash over Savarkar’s poster during August 15 rally

Karnataka police on spot in Shivamogga. [Photo: NDTV]

Bengaluru: A man was stabbed in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district allegedly as two groups clashed over a banner featuring the photo of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, whom the BJP considers one of its biggest icons.

NDTV quoting reports said one group had put up the poster and another removed it and tried to replace it with a poster featuring Tipu Sultan, the 18th Century ruler who had fought against the British and was killed in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war.

The report said soon after, the police came and confiscated the poster. They also had to use batons to disperse the crowd and bring the situation under control. Officials installed the national flag at the spot where the poster was placed.

Prohibitory orders banning large gatherings have been imposed in the area and additional forces have been called in.

“We have imposed Section 144. Tension flared and so we resorted to lathicharge. We have tried to dismiss the crowd. We are verifying if he was stabbed over the same issue,” the report said quoting Laxmi Prasad, a senior police officer of the area, as saying.

The man stabbed in the clash is undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital. The police said he is stable.

Celebrating Tipu Sultan has become controversial in the state, with the BJP and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh dubbing him a brutal king who persecuted Hindus and Christians, especially those who refused to convert to Islam, the report said.

The erstwhile Congress government’s decision to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, was vehemently opposed by the locals in Coorg, where he had his kingdom.

The violence follows yesterday’s controversy over an advertisement by the state’s BJP government which omitted the photo of the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and included Vinayak Savarkar.

As the BJP declared it was a deliberate decision, leaders of Congress alleged it was politically motivated. The party declared that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had done it to deflect attention from the leadership change issue and demanded that he be sacked.


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