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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.

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