Two stray incidents of violence were reported from the coastal Karnataka region of Dakshina Kannada on Saturday morning ahead of the arrival of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for a CPI (M) rally. A Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation bus was stoned and a private lorry was set on fire at separate places in the district. The BJP and right wing groups have called for protests in Mangalore against the Kerala CM’s participation in a rally for communal harmony. The BJP and other right wing groups are opposing Pinarayi Vijayan’s presence at the rally over the alleged political murders of as many as 200 right wing activists in Kerala by CPI(M) workers.
Although, the BJP and allied groups have not called for a bandh, they have sought voluntary public support to protest against the Kerala CM’s attendance at the CPI(M) communal harmony rally. The district administration has imposed section 144 in the region to prevent the gathering of large groups. Private buses stayed off the roads affecting the public transport system in the region on Saturday morning.
“We have not called for a bandh but people are opposing the visit voluntarily. There have been over 200 people from Hindu groups and the Muslim league who have been killed by Left cadre in Kerala and the party is holding a rally for communal harmony in Mangalore,” Bajrang Dal leader Sharan Pumpwell said. “The Kerala chief minister is attending a rally for communal harmony where Hindus, Muslims and Christians will participate. Those opposing the rally are showing they are opposed to communal harmony in Mangalore,” the CPI(M) local leader Muneer Katpilla said.
The Kerala chief minister, who arrived by train in Mangalore at noon, will address a rally at 4.15 pm at the Nehru Maidan. The CPI (M) will lead a three km march from the centre of Mangalore to the Nehru Maidan at 3 pm. The Mangalore police have imposed tight security for the CPI(M) event. Tension has prevailed in the region in the run up to the rally with a CPI (M) office being set on fire on Wednesday night and right wing groups staging a protest march in Mangalore on Friday.