Updated: August 19, 2021 8:25:15 am
A day after an FIR was filed against members of a few right-wing groups for allegedly unveiling a Shiva statue on an island created on a lake in Bengaluru thereby violating an interim stay order, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the police to submit an investigation report based on the same by September 2.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice BV Nagaprasanna directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast Division) to supervise the investigation and file a report based on the FIR filed on August 16 (Monday).
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for the state government cited a police report stating that their personnel were deployed at the area to monitor the issue.
As per a complaint filed by Leo Saldanha, a petitioner in one of the cases over the construction of the artificial island and the installation of a Shiva statue, an FIR was registered at Begur police station in the city. It had named Punith Kerehalli, Santosh Karatal, and others for allegedly unveiling the Shiva statue on August 11 which was covered with tarpaulin till then.
Based on a couple of complaints on August 13 and 15, members of some right-wing groups were booked under relevant Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), and 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person).
Incidentally, the unveiling took place soon after the High Court upheld its 2019 interim order against the creation of the artificial island and the installation of a Shiva statue there.
The idol had originally been installed by the local municipal body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), but the creation of the island itself was held illegal by the court. This was the second time the same was repeated in the last fortnight.
The court said, “If they (accused) have done it (unveiling Shiva statue) after BBMP covered the statue, then they have taken law into their own hands. Let the Commissioner of Police look into this also.”
The matter will be next heard on September 2.
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