Tension has prevailed in parts of the coastal Karnataka region of Mangalore over the last couple of days following clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups over access to a newly laid road. The tension began on December 6 when a local group allegedly prevented access to a newly laid road to a group of pilgrims headed to the Datta Peeta shrine shared by Hindus and Muslims which is located in the Chikmagalur region of Karnataka.
Local police imposed a curfew in the vicinity of the Ulaibet village in Mangalore on Monday after right wing Hindu groups threatened a protest. Over 3000 people however gathered at the village despite the curfew and attacked government buses and injured six policemen in clashes.”Despite the imposition of Section 144, about 3000 members from both the groups came on to the streets. Some miscreants took advantage of the situation and pelted stones at KSRTC buses and burnt two of them,” Mangalore City Police Commissioner R Hitendra said. The police had to resort to caning to disperse the mob.
While the actual reason for the communal flare up remains unclear locals say it started when Muslim groups objected to a delay in the curing of the concreted road and tried to use it on Friday. Local Hindu groups objected to the move and a clash ensued. “After leaders from both communities got involved the issued flared up,” the police commissioner said.
Following the clashes on Monday police detained about 200 protestors and released them in the evening. Cases have been booked against four for destroying public property and injuring on duty police officers. The Mangalore City police will take a call on relaxing prohibitory orders after assessing the situation on Tuesday, Mangalore police commissioner Hitendra said.