Karnataka says no to Rama Sene shutdown call

Bangalore, Feb 13 (Calcutta Tube) The call by the Sri Rama Sene, a fringe group, to shut down Karnataka Saturday in protest against blackening the face of its chief Pramod Mutalik, allegedly by Youth Congress activists, evoked a poor response except at a few places in the state, police said. About 100 of its activists were arrested.

Youth Congress activists allegedly smeared Mutalik’s face with black ink here Thursday to protest his outfit’s plans to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations Feb 14. The right-wing outfit had been creating social disorder in the state for the last couple of years, attacking ‘western cultural mores’ and Muslims.

The Sene called for a Karnataka shutdown to condemn the attack on Mutalik.

However, shops, restaurants and other commercial establishments functioned normally in tech-hub Bangalore with both private and government transport plying on the roads, police said.

The Sene activists stoned buses and forced shops and eateries to down shutters in coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada and in north Karnataka districts of Bellary, Dharwad and Gadag, Director General of Police Ajay Kumar Singh told reporters. Around 100 people were taken into custody in these districts, he said.

In communally-sensitive Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, about 350 km from here, private bus operators suspended services after Sene activists threw stones and damaged around 10 buses, a Dakshina Kannada police spokesperson said on phone.

He, however, denied reports of stone pelting at the house of senior Congress leader and former union minister Oscar Fernandes in Dakshina Kannada.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa criticized the shutdown call by the Sene and said: ‘It has been called by people opposed to the development of the state.’ Police have been directed to take strict action against people trying to disrupt peace in the state, he said.

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