Communal clash in Kalaburagi, 167 booked
Police in Kalaburagi district on Wednesday registered cases against 167 persons, including ten women, over the communal clashes in Aland town.
The situation remained tense on Tuesday after a march led by Union Minister Bhagwanth Khuba to offer puja to a Shivalinga allegedly located in the Hazrat Ladle Mashaikh Dargah premises resulted in stone-pelting. The clash was the result of the Hindu and Muslim groups arguing over their right to perform religious ceremonies at the Ladle Mashak Dargah, police said.
The police have extended prohibitory orders in the city till March 5, and the search for the accused is on.
“Police recovered a large number of stones, sticks and rods that were stocked on the terrace of some houses,” said Superintendent of Police Isha Pant, who was camping in the town.
Kalaburagi police said that since the Uroos celebrations at the dargah coincided with the Mahashivaratri festival, the district administration had issued a prohibitory order in the town.
However, rallies were taken out defying these orders.
A senior Kalaburagi police officer said that a Hindu organisation had called for a purification ceremony at the temple, located inside the Dargah premises on Tuesday.
The Eshwar temple and Dargah were praised as a symbol Hindu-Muslim unity for a long time as they were located in the same compound. The dargah is the memorial of Ladle Mashak Ansari, a Sufi saint, making it a holy site for the Muslims while the memorial of Guru Raghavachaitanya makes it a prominent religious place for the Hindus. Since the 14th century, the site has been drawing devotees from both faiths.
However, last week Aland town saw tensions over an alleged incident of desecration of the deity at the Eshwar temple.
On Tuesday, Ladle Mashak Dargah authorities had planned a sandal procession and Shab-e-Barat, a religious congregation in remembrance of the deceased.
At the same time, Sri Ram Sena, a right-wing organisation, announced to offer purification puja to a Shivalinga located in the dargah premises on the same day, on Mahashivaratri day.
In response, Kalaburagi Deputy Commissioner Yeshwanth Gurukar imposed Section 144 in Aland from February 27 to March 3, and the entry of Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Mutalik and right-wing activist Chaitra Kundapur to Kalaburagi district was barred.
However, a gathering led by Union Minister Khuba and other BJP leaders tried to enter the dargah premises to perform.
The group of Muslim worshippers, who were not allowed to enter the premises, threw stones, damaging some vehicles, including those of the minister, police said.
The row ended with SP Pant and DCP Yeshwanth V Guruka’s mediation between the leaders of the two communities.
Pant, however, said that those responsible for the violence will be arrested at the earliest.
Siddalinga Swami of Karneshwar Math, who tried to enter Aland, was taken into custody by police, while Chaitra Kundapur, a Hindu activist, bound for the Kalaburagi town, was prevented from continuing her journey in Yadgir. Sri Rama Sene President Pramod Muthalik was barred from entering Kalaburagi as a precautionary measure.