The BJP in Karnataka on Thursday threatened to launch a protest over the arrest of former Union minister and BJP leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal by the Bijapur district police in connection with a communal clash on Monday during the celebrations of the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
BJP state president Prahlad Joshi and other senior leaders of the party on Thursday accused the police of acting at the behest of the Congress government in the state and booking BJP leaders under strong sections of the law while not following similar standards for members of the minority community who were also involved in the clashes.
Joshi demanded the transfer of the local police officials who had booked Yatnal for the violence and sought an unbiased probe in the matter. “We will be forced to take to the streets in protest otherwise. The police officials are working in the region only to please their political bosses,” he said.
The Inspector General of Police (Northern Range) Bhaskar Rao said that Yatnal was arrested by the Bijapur police on Wednesday morning at Kolhapur in Maharashtra and brought to Bijapur in northern Karnataka.
Yatnal was a minister of state in the AB Vajpayee government from 2002 to 2004. Later he joined the JDS before returning to the BJP recently.
The IGP said that the Bijapur police had registered seven cases against Yatnal and his supporters as they were responsible for the communal clash that took place in Bijapur in the course of a victory procession where BJP supporters allegedly hurled colors on members of the minority community.
The seven FIR’s registered against Yatnal and his supporters are under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offense committed in prosecution of common object), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).
Police said that the violence took place in the town when the rally reached Gandhi Chowk. Many vehicles were damaged and a few people including two policemen were injured in the incident. Prohibitory orders are in force in the town to prevent any further untoward incidents.