‘Protesting is no crime’: Siddaramaiah blames BJP govt for Mangaluru deaths
Police in Mangaluru had opened fire as protests turned violent and protesters started throwing stones at them, injuring 49-year-old Jaleel and 23-year-old Nausheen. The two men later succumbed to their injuries.Updated: Dec 20, 2019, 15:37 IST
Senior Congress leader in Karnataka Siddaramaiah on Friday stepped up his attack on BS Yediyurappa on Friday as he blamed the government for the deaths of two men in Mangaluru during the anti-citizenship act protest on Thursday.
Police in Mangaluru had opened fire as protests turned violent and protesters started throwing stones at them, injuring 49-year-old Jaleel and 23-year-old Nausheen. The two men later succumbed to their injuries.
Hundreds of people defied prohibitory orders under Section 144, imposed by the state police across several cities including Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kalburgi, Hassan, Hubli and Dharwad as they hit the streets against the new citizenship law.
Police had imposed prohibitory orders on Wednesday, prohibiting an assembly of four or more people at a public place, across these cities.
Siddaramaiah said protests are not a crime and that there was an undeclared emergency in the state.
“The protesters had not damaged public property but were protesting against unjust CAA (citizenship amendment act). Mangaluru incident looks like the police have instigated and encouraged violence,” the former chief minister of the state said while speaking to the media in the state capital.
“There were other ways to suppress protests including teargas, firing in the air, using water cannons, or using rubber bullets, lathi charge etc... Instead of that, they have used the last resort of firing on innocent people,” he said.
Siddaramaiah, who is planning a visit to Mangaluru, said there was no need for the government to impose Section 144 in large parts of the state.
Several Congress leaders, including Mangaluru legislator UT Khader, whose controversial statement that the state will burn into cinders if CAA was implemented, also appealed for peace in the city.
A delegation of the opposition party’s leaders heading to Mangaluru to get first-hand information on the situation was turned away by police from the airport at the violence-hit city.
The delegation included several senior leaders like VS Ugrappa, former speaker K Ramesh Kumar, and MB Patil among others.
Officials said an autopsy was conducted on the bodies of the two men killed in Thursday’s police action at Wenlock Hospital at Hampankatta under heavy security.
They said the bodies could be handed over to their families and buried around 5pm in the evening.
In spite of the curfew, two private buses stoned by protesters in Belthangdy and Uppinaangadi areas of Mangaluru. Police officials, however, said the situation was back under control.
The curfew was relaxed for two hours in the city to enable people to offer their Friday prayers.
Mobile internet services in Mangaluru and Dakshina Kannada districts were suspended on Thursday night for the next 48 hours after the violence in Mangaluru.