Several cases against ‘unknown’ people, but no arrest for anti-Muslim violence in Shivamogga town

New Delhi, February 23 (KMS): Police in Shivamogga town in the Indian state of Karnataka claimed to have filed several cases against “unknown” people in connection with the mob violence carried out by the Hindutva goons against Muslims in the town, but have not made any arrest so far.

The town witnessed mass-scale violence and arson targeting Muslim neighbourhood following the murder of a Bajrang Dal member, Harsha on Sunday (February 20).

Talking to the media, Ganesh Doddapete, a police constable at a police station of Shivamogga, said that they have registered eight cases against unidentified people for pelting stones, torching and damaging properties under several relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Though there have been heavy losses to property, he said no loss of life was reported in the violence.

A police constable at Kote Police Station informed the media that they have registered four cases in connection with the communal violence against Muslims. These are the two police stations in the town where most of the cases related to the communal violence were registered.

Hours after the murder of Harsh, supporters of Hindutva groups unleashed violence against the Muslims. Mobs ran amok in Muslim areas damaging and setting their properties on fire. Some even barged into Muslim houses. Religious sites, including a madrasa, also came under attack. According to the media the madrasa was set ablaze by the rampaging mob.

Many videos of the violence showing Hindutva mobs torching Muslim properties and pelting stones surfaced on social media. The culprits in the video clips can be easily identified, yet the police are shying away from naming them. Hence, the cases registered against “unknown people”.

Apart from private property, two journalists also came under attack. According to the reports, Ningan Gouda of Press Trust of India and Rafeeq from a local Urdu press, Ajka Inquilab, are among those who suffered serious injuries while covering the violence. Both have been hospitalised and are undergoing treatment for multiple injuries.

The police also revealed that Harsha was involved in several criminal cases from assault to attempt of murder. He was involved in at least five such cases. In December 2020, he was accused of being part of a mob that attacked Muslim traders in Shivamogga.

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