BJP MLA Poonja issued notice for threatening Belthangadi cops | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJP MLA Poonja issued notice for threatening Belthangadi cops

By, Bengaluru
May 23, 2024 09:08 AM IST

The MLA was booked on Sunday for allegedly threatening police officers and obstructing their discharge of duty at the police station during a protest in the station demanding the release of BJP leader Shashiraj Shetty on May 18

The Belthangadi police in Dakshina Kannada district served a notice to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Harish Poonja in connection with two separate FIRs filed against him, said an officer in the know of the development, adding that the police waited outside Poonja’s residence until Wednesday evening to detain him.

During the gathering, MLA Poonja reportedly stated that he was willing to confront the police physically on behalf of the arrested activists (File photo)
During the gathering, MLA Poonja reportedly stated that he was willing to confront the police physically on behalf of the arrested activists (File photo)

The MLA was booked on Sunday for allegedly threatening police officers and obstructing their discharge of duty at the police station during a protest in the station demanding the release of BJP leader Shashiraj Shetty on May 18.

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On Tuesday, an additional first information report (FIR) was filed against MLA Harish Poonja at the Belthangadi police station. The charges stem from his alleged threats towards the police during a protest against the arrest of Shetty. The president of the Belthangadi mandal of BJP Yuva Morcha is implicated in a case related to illegal stone mining and illegal stockpiling of explosives.

The protest, organised by the BJP, took place on Monday in front of Vikas Soudha in Belthangadi. However, it was conducted without prior permission from the relevant authorities.

During the gathering, Poonja reportedly stated that he was willing to confront the police physically on behalf of the arrested activists. His remarks included insults and threats directed at the Belthangadi station inspector, other police officers, and the entire police department. The protest also obstructed the public’s access to the taluk office, which was disrupted due to the protest.

“The additional FIR lists several charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including section 143 (unlawful assembly), section 147 (creating a riot), section 341 (unlawful restraint), section 504 (intentional incitement), section 506 (criminal intimidation), and section 149 (conspiracy by a group),’’ Dakshina Kannada district SP CB Rishyanth told HT. ‘’ We have served notice to the MLA to appear for an inquiry. He did not turn up, so we are waiting to take him to custody for an inquiry and would initiate legal action as per law.”

The police registered the case on Tuesday evening, and they arrived at the MLA’s house in the early morning of Wednesday. Hundreds of supporters gathered at the house of Poonja in Gardadi village in Belthangady taluk. Police blocked the way to the house, and hundreds of police personnel, including the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) platoon, were deployed on the spot.

MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and MLA Vedavyas Kamat, also present in the house, have planned to call for Dakshina Kannada Bandh on May 23 if the MLA is arrested.

‘’We condemn the registration of FIRs against elected representative Harish Poonja,‘’ state unit BJP chief BY Vijayendra told reporters on Wednesday. Vijayendra claimed that Shashiraj Shetty was framed by police, prompting Poonja to protest at the police station.

“The government’s vengeance on the BJP is through the police. The government is trying to hush up our agitation by booking cases. But the party would launch statewide agitation if police arrested innocent workers. The government should withdraw the FIR booked against Poonja,‘’ he added.

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