ED action sparks violent protests across Karnataka, buses damaged
Former minister and Congress leader D K Shivakumar’s arrest over alleged money laundering triggered protests across Karnataka on Wednesday.
In Shivakumar’s Kanakapura constituency, protestors threw stones and damaged several buses belonging to the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation. The Bengaluru–Mysuru highway was closed for traffic after protesters burnt tyres and blocked the movement of vehicles. As a precautionary measure, schools and colleges across Ramanagara district, under which Kanakapura falls, were closed on Wednesday. Incidents of stone-pelting, blocking of traffic and dharnas were reported from across Karnataka.
Former CM Siddaramaiah, who participated in protests in Mysuru, said that central government agencies were being used to target opposition leaders. He called Shivakumar’s arrest an attempt to divert the attention from BJP government’s structural failures and to prevent voices of dissent. “Shivakumar is a victim of vindictive politics.”
He said that Shivakumar would definitely come out clean and added the country would understand the BJP’s ulterior motives. “We are all with him [Shivakumar] in these difficult times and shall provide him with full support,” he tweeted.
Congress general secretary K C Venugopal called Shivakumar’s arrest “a clear case of political vendetta by the fascist BJP government at the Centre”.
He said that after former Union minister P Chidambaram, yet another leader “has been dubiously, vengefully and selectively targeted”.
Karnataka home minister Basvraj Bommai asked the Congress to ensure protests remain peaceful. He said that officials had been instructed to take all necessary measures to ensure law and order was maintained.
“We have to see that the public at large is not affected, and there should not be any violence,” he said.