Pro-Kannada outfits launched a protest in Karnataka’s Belagavi Thursday demanding action against those who allegedly beat up a student after he waved the state flag during an inter-college festival. The incident comes at a time when there is high tension in Belagavi owing to the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra, and ahead of the Maharashtra ministers’ visit to the area on December 3.
This came a day after a video went viral showing a student of Gogte College of Commerce in Belagavi allegedly beaten up by other students after he waved the Karnataka flag. However, the police said there is no clarity why the student was attacked.
Kannada Rakshana Vedike (KRV) alleged the student was beaten up because he was waving the Karnataka flag. The pro-Kannada group also alleged that when he approached the police station to register a complaint, the police also allegedly ‘thrashed’ him. Deepak Gudaga, a member of KRV, said, “Shreyas was beaten up by students of other linguistic groups just for waving the Kannada flag. Moreover, many colleges in Belagavi are dominated by Marathi-speaking people. There have been similar incidents reported in the past where Kannada culture and Kannadigas were insulted.”
Gulag added, “It is very unbecoming of senior police officers to thrash a young boy who came to the police station to register a complaint. We will continue to protest until the perpetrators are punished.”
Ashok Chandargi, a social activist based in Belagavi, said, “There are reports coming in that one of the attackers is a Kannadiga and the reason for the incident is yet to be ascertained. We have to wait for the police to come up with a clear report.”
Sources in the police department said the cause of the incident is still not clear. “It appears that it was an issue involving students trampling over each other’s foot while grooving to the music, which might have also caused the confrontation. We will get clarity once we complete an investigation,” said a police official.
Authorities of Karnataka Law Society, which runs several institutions in Belagavi including Gogte College of Commerce, are expected to convene a meeting with the college members in the evening to probe the matter.