Night curfew continues in riot-hit Karnataka town

Bangalore, March 3 (IANS) Curfew in violence-hit Shimoga town of Karnataka will continue for the third night in a row Wednesday though the situation is peaceful, police said.

Curfew was imposed Monday after riots broke out over an article on Islamic veil in a Kannada daily, written by Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen.

Two people were killed, one in police firing and another in mob attack and around 100 shops and 50 vehicles were damaged in the violence. More than 50 people have been detained by police so far.

‘Curfew will continue tonight (Wednesday night) and a decision on relaxing it tomorrow (Thursday) will be taken in the morning,’ a police spokesperson said from Shimoga, about 280 km from here.

The curfew was relaxed for 90 minutes in the morning, 7 a.m. to 8.30 a.m., and in the evening, 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., Wednesday to enable people to buy essential items.

In Hassan, about 180 km from here, which was also hit by riots Monday, prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons remained in force Wednesday. The situation in the town was, however, normal, police said.

Orders banning gatherings of five or more people have also been clamped in the communally sensitive coastal town of Mangalore, around 350 km from here, following late Tuesday’s attack on the offices of the Kannada daily.

‘The situation is under control,’ Superintendent of Police Subramanyeshwara Rao told reporters in Mangalore Wednesday.

The Kannada daily and an Urdu daily, which on Monday published a commentary on the article, have apologised. However, police have booked cases against both publications.

Late Tuesday, the Kannada daily’s office in Mangalore was vandalised by a group of masked men who escaped after warning the staff against publication of such articles.

A petrol bomb thrown at the office caused a minor fire but no employee was hurt, according to the Mangalore police.

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