Karnataka CM tells police to rein in ‘communal’ forces

Bengaluru: Pulling up the Karnataka Police for failing to curb violent incidents in the state’s coastal region last week, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday directed them to rein in “communal forces” from polarising society ahead of the state assembly elections early next year.

“Don’t spare anybody from breaking law or disturbing peace through violence and polarising society on communal lines,” Siddaramaiah told reporters about his directions to top police officers after reviewing the law and order situation across the state.

Siddaramaiah is holding the Home portfolio since the ruling Congress state unit president G. Parameshwara resigned from the post in June on a directive from the party’s high command directive in view of the ensuing assembly elections.

Urging police to act swiftly and strictly against communal elements by even invoking the Goonda Act, the Chief Minister said the state government was pained by the stabbing on a RSS activist near Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district on July 4. The victim died on July 7.

“You have freedom to take stringent action against those inciting viiolence irrespective of the community they belong to. You should identify the elements polarising society in view of the upcoming elections to the state assembly and rein in them,” Siddaramaiah told the top police brass.

The opposition BJP blamed the police and the state government for the death of RSS activist Sharat Madiwala, who was allegedly attacked by three unidentified assailants at B.C. Road and for the violence that erupted on last Friday at his funeral procession from Mangaluru to Bantwal.

Accusing communal forces of using the coastal region as a lab for pursuing their divisive agenda, the Chief Minister directed Director General of Police R.K. Dutta to visit the area and assess the situation to restore normalcy.

Siddaramaiah also asked the police officers of the area to explain why they failed to act against those who instigated the violence and failed to prevent tension.

“The guilty should not be spared. How could violence erupt when section 144 was in force in the area where law-abiding, educated and cultured people live,” he asked.