Curfew continues in riot-hit Karnataka town

Bangalore, March 2 (IANS) Curfew continued in Karnataka’s riot-hit Shimoga town as did prohibitory orders banning crowds in Hassan, police said Tuesday, a day after two people were killed following protests against an article on the veil by Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen.

‘The situation in the town is peaceful and under control. No untoward incident has been reported since Monday evening. The three-day curfew will be in force till Wednesday evening,’ Shimoga Superintendent of Police S. Murugan told IANS.

Police deployed additional forces in the town, about 280 km from Bangalore, to maintain law and order and stepped up vigil in sensitive areas where group clashes led to the death of two youth, one in police firing and another due to stab injuries.

The two victims have been identified as Latif, 25, and Sadiq, 23.

‘We have booked nine cases under various Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections against unidentified culprits for indulging in riots and group clashes,’ Murugan said, adding that about 50 people have also been detained as a precautionary measure.

Hassan, about 180 km from this tech hub, has seen tension too with a violent demonstration and a protest rally. Police have clamped a ban order in the town under section 144 of the CrPC (criminal procedure code) to prevent any untoward incident and maintain peace.

Riots had broken out in the two towns after local language newspapers had published Nasreen’s article on the practice of wearing a veil (purdah) by Muslim women, prompting protests by Muslims.

Police have registered criminal cases against the two newspapers in Kannada and Urdu which carried the controversial article.

‘We have asked the newspaper editors and their managements to carry an apology on the front page of their editions Wednesday,’ Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa told reporters late Monday.

The main opposition Congress slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for the sporadic violence and lawless situation in the state, disrupting normal life.

‘The government machinery has collapsed in the state as evident from the violence and riots that broke out Monday over an article published in local dailies Sunday,’ former deputy chief minister and Congress legislative party leader Siddaramaiah told reporters.

Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) law maker and former minister N.C. Nanaiah also criticised the government for failing to check the violence in the two towns.

‘Though the chief minister recently said police firing was banned in the state, the death of a youth in such a firing at Shimoga Monday exposes his claims,’ Nanaiah pointed out.

The opposition parties also lamented the failure of police intelligence in anticipating the trouble from the publication of such a controversial article.

Shimoga is the home town of state Yeddyurappa; Hassan is the home town of former Indian prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who heads the JD-S in the state.

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