Udupi, Sept 11: The Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are blaming each other for the violence in Udupi during Monday’s Bharat Bandh that forced district administration to clamp prohibitory orders in the city.
Speaking to media persons BJP leader and Udupi MLA K Raghupati Bhat said that it was due to the violence unleashed by the Congress workers that Prabhakar Poojary, president of the city unit of the BJP, was hit by a stone and a rod at Bannanje and was admitted to hospital. Some other BJP workers too were injured in the incident.
He said that the altercation between the Congress and the BJP workers at several places in the city was because of the former trying to enforce the bandh and forcing shopkeepers to shut their business. The police should have taken strong action against the enforcement of the bandh and rough methods deployed by the Congress workers. But the police did not do so. Hence, the BJP workers had to rush to protect the shopkeepers, who had sought their protection, he said.
“The Congress has shown its goonda culture. After saying the bandh is voluntary, why did the Congress workers go around the city asking shopkeepers to shut down their shutters?” he asked.
On the other hand, Vinaykumar Sorake, former Minister and Congress leader, said that the BJP workers deliberately tried to fan disturbances during the bandh in Udupi city.
He said that the Congress workers were requesting shopkeepers to cooperate with them for the bandh. But the BJP workers intervened and this led to altercations. “We did not force a bandh on shopkeepers,” he said.
Even near the District Police Office, the Congress workers wanted to leave, but the BJP workers blocked their way. Some Congress workers were injured during the lathi-charge near the District Police Office. “What was the need for the police to resort to lathi-charge? We have brought the matter to the notice of the district in-charge Minister Jaimala and Home Minister G. Parameshwara,” Mr. Sorake said.
Pramod Madhwaraj, former Minister and Congress leader, said that the BJP workers had tried to obstruct the bandh in the city. When the BJP had earlier called for bandhs, the Congress had never obstructed them because a bandh was a “democratic weapon” for an opposition party.
The police should have stopped the BJP workers who were obstructing the bandh. Instead, the police, including the Superintendent of Police himself, had resorted to lathi-charge, he said. He, however, added that the police, at times, had to intervene to calm down a situation.
It was necessary to decide judiciously how much force should be used in such a situation. The police could not go over board while using force, he said.
“The police could not treat goondas and political party workers with the same yardstick. A municipal councillor and some other Congress workers were injured during the lathi-charge,” he said.
Congress, BJP blame each other for violence in Udupi during Bharat Bandh