Kerala CM arrives in Mangaluru amid protests by VHP, Bajrang Dal

Mangaluru: A Dakshina Kannada district bandh called by sangh parivar outfits against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s visit evoked a mixed response on Saturday, as he arrived in Mangaluru under heavy security brushing aside protests.

Private shops and commercial establishments were mostly shut in Mangaluru and in other parts responding to the bandh called by VHP, Bajrang Dal and some fringe right wing outfits and backed by BJP to protest the attacks on BJP and RSS cadres in Kerala.

Four buses, including one from Kerala, were stoned in different places, police said.

Vijayan, who is addressing a rally here in the evening, came by train and was received by CPI-M Dakshina Kannada district leaders at the central railway station.

He was accompanied by CPI-M Karnataka state secretary Srirama Reddy and Kasaragod MP P Karunakaran. He later drove to a private hotel.

BJP has alleged that Vijayan was the “mastermind” behind the crimes against its workers in Kerala, especially in Kannur district and had been opposing his visit, but Vijayan had ignored the protests and declared he would come here.

Around 2,000 police personnel in addition to Karnataka State Reserve police are on security duty.

Police said they have also issued notices to 44 persons who have called the bandh as per section 107 of IPC (Abetment of an illegal act engaging others) since Supreme Court had given clear directives that none can organise a bandh.

District In-charge Minister B Ramanath Rai told reporters that stringent action would be taken against those who disrupted communal harmony and created unrest in the district during the visit of the Kerala Chief Minister.

The right wing outfits’ call for bandh was undemocratic, he said.

Ahead of Vijayan’s visit, publicity material and furniture at CPI(M) Ullal unit office in Dakshina Kannada district were set afire by unidentified persons on Wednesday night.

BJP has alleged the CPI(M) heading the ruling LDF in Kerala was behind the killing of members of parties that held different political views and Vijayan was responsible for the current “volatile political situation” in that state.