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Rioters try to demolish Eidgah in Hubli
|Hubli: Riots broke out in this
communally sensitive town of Karnataka on 15 September following the 75th
birthday rally of the VHP president Ashok Singhal. Two persons were
killed, one in police firing and another in the mob frenzy. Dozens of
people were injured including several policemen in the scuffle that
followed the rally, Shobha Yatra. Curfew was clamped down in six police
station limits immediately after the riots broke out in this hub of
commercial activities in the north Karnataka.
Riots are not new for this sensitive town. It has witnessed several riots
during the last one decade. The BJP and other saffron organizations have
exploited Muslim and Kshatriya Samaj rivalry to the hilt. Kshatriya is a
strong business community in the district.
The problem started on 15 September when the VHP and Bajrang Dal activist
in the birthday rally of Ashok Singhal started raising anti-Muslim
slogans. They also started chanting slogans against Taliban of Afghanistan
and Usama Bin Laden. If that was not enough they rushed to the Eidgah
ground in Hubli to occupy the place and hoist a flag. Police spokesman MD
Singh said the march turned violent when some participants began shouting
slogans against the Taliban leaders of Afghanistan and neighboring
Pakistan for supporting the main suspect in the US attacks, Osama bin
Laden. It is reported that the hate-mongers tried to demolish the Eidgah
structure. The police has also confirmed that these people tried to
demolish Eidgah building and that some Bajrang Dal activists also tried to
bring down a banner containing passage from the Holy Qur'an. The
50000-strong frenzied mob also attacked the police who tried to stop the
rampaging mob. They resorted to stone pelting on the police and arson in
the nearby area. The police was forced to open fire. The activists also
attacked Muslim women and set several Muslim shops on fire.
The city has faced several troubled phases during the last decade. The BJP
and its sister organizations have always tried to vitiate the atmosphere.
The attempt made by the VHP and Bajrang Dal activists to demolish and
occupy the Eidgah ground is not a new thing. They have been attempting to
demolish and occupy the place but in vain.
The first attempt was made by the BJP student wing Akhil Bharatiya
Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1992 when a group of its activists hoisted
the national tricolour flag in the Eidgah ground on Republic Day. However
the flag was unceremoniously removed by the police as a precaution as a
law and order problem. The BJP and its other concerns have tried to
reenact the scene several times later too.
Though the police acted firmly on the occasion but the incident clearly
shows that how unprepared the police and its intelligence have been in a
sensitive town like Hubli. q