Tension in Karnataka village bordering with Maharashtra over installation of Sangolli Rayanna statue

South India

Officials pacified the agitated mob and told them that they would look into the issue as the statue was installed without the government permission

Tight police security is in place at a Karnataka village bordering with Maharashtra following tension between two sections of people on Friday morning over the installation of 18th-century warrior and freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna at a junction.

Police resorted to cane charge to disperse mob who gathered at the spot taking objection to the installation.

The problem began when some Kannada activists allegedly installed the statue of Rayanna at a junction in Peeranwadi village in Belagavi district bordering with Maharashtra post-mid-night on Thursday.

Tension prevailed at the spot when the pro-Marathi people spotted the statue and in no time more people gathered in the area and they strongly opposed the act, reported The New Indian Express.

In fact, the controversial junction, where Rayanna's statue has been installed now, is known as Shivaji Chowk and the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has already been nearby for a long time.

As the mob gathered and the situation turned tense, police resorted to cane charge to disperse the people and brought the situation under control.

Meanwhile, the officials tried to pacify the agitated people and told them that they would look into the issue as the statue was installed without the government permission, said an agency report.

An FIR has been registered in this regard and action will be taken against those who installed the statue, the officials said.

Meanwhile, additional forces have been deployed in the area to avoid any kind of untoward incidents in the wake of the statue installation.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in said in Bengaluru that he talked to the Belagavi Deputy Commissioner and other officials to give them necessary instructions.

"I have told officials that without differentiating between Kannadigas and Marathi people, the situation should be handled delicately and issues should be resolved... everything is peaceful now, everyone is cooperating. I thank the people for this.. everything will be resolved," he told reporters.

Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said police have taken stringent measures to control the situation, and that he has spoken to Belagavi Police Commissioner and IG, also ADGP Law and Order is visiting the area.

"All necessary police bandobast is being made..." he said, adding that the administration was taking all efforts to resolve things peacefully by taking everyone into confidence.

An attempt was made on August 15 to install Rayanna’s statue but police had spoiled the bid leading to protests by pro-Kannada organisations in Belagavi, which has a sizable Marathi-speaking population.  

District in-charge Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi said on Thursday a decision to install the statue would be taken on August 29 after evaluating the legal aspects and as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court.

Sangolli Rayanna (1798-1831) was the army chief of the erstwhile Kittur Kingdom ruled by Rani Chennamma and fought against the British who hanged him to death from a Banyan tree near Nandagad in Belagavi district in 1831.

With inputs from Agency

Image credit: The New Indian Express

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