Mangaluru: Popular Front holds huge protest meet, police accused of discrimination

Mangaluru: The district unit of Popular Front of India on Friday January 23 held a huge protest meet in front of the DC’s office here, condemning the recent communal clashes that erupted at Karaya in Beltangady and the subsequent incidents at Uppinangady.

Addressing the gathering, Popular Front district president A M Athavullah spoke of the clashes at Ulaibettu in November 2014 and said, “Muslims were accused of attacking Datta Peetha pilgrims, but that was not the actual case. The real issue was that the pilgrims were going on a new road that was not even inaugurated and when youths from the area tried to stop them, they were abused and clashes erupted. After the clashes police barged into 24 houses and attacked people and 29 were arrested, out of which six were released the next morning due to pressure from Muslim groups and another let off by the court as he was a minor. Remaining 22 are still in jail.

“The police are discriminating between communities, as only Muslims have been sent to Ballari jail,” he added.

“The government as well as the district administration are responsible for all the clashes as they are not taking any action. They promised to take strict action against members of the other group one month ago, but nothing has been done so far,” he said.

“None of the ministers from Dakshina Kannada visited Karaya after the clashes. Innoncents are still in jail. The police should submit B report and release the innocents,” he urged.

Former mayor Ashraf, who is also the president of Samyukta Jamath, said, “The Muslims who were arrested in the Ulaibettu incident have been directly sent to Ballari jail but the people who attacked the mosque have not been arrested yet. In our nation two departments are very important – the army and the police. The army is protecting our nation and doing its job sincerely but why are the police discriminating among communities?”

Attacking the Congress goverment particularly the locals leaders, Ashraf said, “I am asking this to Muslims in the Congress party – where were you when the mosque was attacked? Why didn’t you raise your voice? One MLA was busy in 20-20 match when these incidents occured. If someone in your party had passed away, you would have stopped the match.”

He also attacked Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat and termed him as a ‘doll which makes people laugh’, and added, “Whoever attacked the mosque in Karaya will be punished by god.”

State SDPI leader Ilyas Mohammed Thumbay said, “DK and Udupi are known to be districts of the educated, but because of communal clashes the image of DK has taken a beating. On the day the Karaya incident took place, RSS people who were coming from Hindu Sangama had stones stocked in a pickup van. If they had gone to a peaceful convention, why did they need stones?”

He also referred to the Nandita case of Teerthahalli and said the Bajrang Dal and RSS tried to give it a communal colour when even the police had declared that Nandita committed suicide over personal reasons.

“Even Hindus themselves have lost their peace because of the Sangh Parivar outfits. Why do these Prabhakar Bhat and Pravin Togadia drag Muslims into their speeches? Prabhakar Bhat tells people to carry knives with them – if they take knives we also know what to do,” he said.

“Talk about Hinduism and Hindus during Hindu convention and not about Muslims. Do not criticize holy books, attires or our language,” he said in his message, adding, “Why didn’t the police file suo motu case against the Hindu convention organizers and for giving provocative speeches?”

Referring to the banner of Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya in Puttur ahead of the Hindu Hrudaya Sangama, he said, “If the police are afraid to take down that banner, we will help them.”

Popular Front state committee members Shafi Bellare said, “Last year also Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat had tried to provoke us. When we tried to file a complaint regarding the banner of Sadhvi Pragya, the police hesitated. They tried to remove the banner but were not allowed.

“Dr M K Prasad Bhandary, the organizer of Hindu Sangama was sitting next to the police in the peace meet. This is as if the person behind all the trouble is projected at the front. What justice can we expect from police if this is the case?” he questioned.

“When we went to the police to file complaint about the provocative speech at the Hindu Sangama, we gave a CD recording of the speech which was in Tulu. The police told us we should translate it in Kannada. Police can understand Beary language but not Tulu,” he said.

Vice-president of Muslim Central Committee Hamid Kandak said, “Good Hindus will not allow people to spoil any mosque. Muslims should not attack any Hindus during clashes but instead protect them.”

President of Uppinangady Juma Masjid Mustafa Kempi and All India Imams’ Council DK district president Jaffer Sadiq Faizi also spoke on the occasion.

Popular Front Beltangady president Hyder Neersala, state committee member Iqbal Nandarabettu, SDPI district president Nawaz Ullal and others were present.

Prior to the event, a minor clash erupted between the crowd and the police but it was soon sorted out.

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