Following the defacement of freedom fighters’ statues in Karnataka, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said in the state Assembly that the accused in these incidents will be booked for sedition as they are “anti-nationals”.
His statement comes after several cases were reported over the last few days regarding the vandalisation of statues of freedom fighters Sangolli Rayanna and Shivaji Maharaj. Bommai said a report on these incidents will be shared with the Centre.
The House sought action against those who indulged in such activities, including workers of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi (MES). Bommai informed the legislators that the government is planning to book the accused in these incidents for sedition and also under the state’s Goonda Act. “There are some leaders who are behind these actions and they want to disrupt peace and harmony. We will go after the people who are behind it and will take action. They are (Sangolli Rayanna and Shivaji Maharaj) are freedom fighters who fought for the nation and whoever indulges in maligning their images are anti-nationals,” he added.
Last week, pro-Kannada activists smeared ink on the face of MES leader Deepak Dalavi. Following this, Karnataka’s flag was burnt in Maharashtra and a Shivaji statue in Bengaluru and a Sangolli Rayanna statue in Belagavi district were vandalised. Soon, protests erupted among farmers and pro-Kannada activists, while Karnataka’s flag was burnt again, and an image of social reformer Basavanna smeared with ink in Belagavi district. According to the state police, about 27 persons have been arrested so far in these cases.
“We are getting the track records of these people… There is a political conspiracy as well and there were several attempts by Maharashtra leaders to enter the state. I would like to tell those in Maharashtra that there is no problem between the people of both states. They are trying to keep the border issue alive using these incidents since a case is ongoing in the Supreme Court challenging the Mahajan report on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute,” Bommai said.
He added that the statues of freedom fighters Kittur Rani Chennamma and Sangolli Rayanna will be installed on the premises of the Suvarna Soudha.
The chief minister said the state’s Home Secretary and DGP have already spoken to their counterparts in Maharashtra seeking protection for Kannadigas in Maharashtra.