Several BJP leaders were detained here on Thursday by Karnataka Police as the party held a protest march to condemn the murders of party functionaries, despite police not granting them permission.
State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cadres and senior party leaders, including state party chief B.S. Yeddyurappa, were detained by the police here as they were marching towards Nehru Maidan for a public meeting to condemn the alleged murders of party functionaries in the state.
Thousands of party workers were seen gathered at Jyothi Circle holding the party’s saffron flags and chanting slogans against the government.
Senior party leaders, including former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, party general secretary C.T. Ravi, were also present.
“Law and order situation in the state has deteriorated under the Congress government,” Yeddyurappa said at the gathering of party workers here at Jyothi Circle.
“Several BJP functionaries have been killed in the state. How many more will be killed under the Congress government?” the state BJP chief questioned.
The party had initially planned ‘Mangaluru Chalo’ bike rally, for which the state police had denied permission.
“The permission was not granted to hold the rally as it would cause traffic problems and to maintain law and order in the city,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Hanumantharaya told IANS.
“Public rallies could lead to communal tension in the region,” the police official said.
Clashes were witnessed between the BJP workers and the police as cadres tried to cross barricades put up by the police to block the rally.
“The reason we’re holding a public meeting is to condemn the murders of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers in the state. We demand a National Investigation Agency probe into the deaths,” state BJP spokesperson Shantaram told IANS.
The party also demanded a ban on the Popular Front of India and the Karnataka Forum for Dignity, which are the alleged reason for attacks on BJP functionaries.