Violence-hit Mangaluru calm; curfew relaxed for 2 hours

Mangaluru (Karnataka), Dec 21:The violence-hit port city of Mangaluru in Karnataka remained calm with no untoward incident reported when the curfew was relaxed for two hours, the police said on Friday.

“As the city remained calm with situation under control, curfew was relaxed for two hours in the afternoon. Friday prayers (namaz) were offered peacefully across the city,” Mangaluru police officer Guru Kamat told IANS over the phone.

Curfew and Section 144 under the CrPC will, however, continue till Sunday midnight to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident.

“If the situation improves and peace continues, curfew will be relaxed on Saturday for two hours to enable the citizens to buy essentials and attend to emergency errands,” a police source told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“In view of the curfew across the city, schools and colleges have been shut till Saturday, as state-run and private buses and auto-rickshaws are not plying. There are curbs on the free movement of vehicles, especially in the violence-hit areas in the city’s northern and central parts,” Kamat said.

Meanwhile, the bodies of two victims of police firing on Thursday were handed over to their families after autopsy for their last rites.

The victims — Jaleel Kandak (49) and Naushan Kudroli (23) — received bullet injuries in the firing and succumbed at the hospital on Thursday night.

About 20 people, including 15 police officers, were injured in the mob attack when police fired teargas shells and lathi-charged the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters as a ban order was in force.

“Our men were forced to fire in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters who laid siege around the Deputy Commissioner’s office while some mischief elements among them attempted to set the Bunder police station on fire,” added Kamat.

Additional police forces from neighbouring districts have been deployed in the port city to ensure tight security and enhance vigil against anti-social elements and rumour/mischief mongers.

“We have detained a number of people since Thursday evening for allegedly indulging in rioting, violent attack on policemen, including officers, and for causing damage to public property,” Kamat said.

Internet data services on mobile devices have been suspended since Thursday midnight for two days across the city and the Dakshina Kannada district to prevent spreading of rumours.

Day-long massive protests were held on Thursday against the CAA, defying a ban order under Section 144 of the CrPC.

In a related development, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said that he would visit Mangaluru on Saturday to assess and review the law and order situation.

“I am visiting Mangaluru tomorrow (Saturday) to find out what happened there on Thursday and why the police firing took place,” Yediyurappa told reporters in Bengaluru after an hour-long meeting with top police brass and officials.

State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Director General of Police Neelamani Raju will accompany the Chief Minister for the visit to the port city.

The ruling BJP has held Congress legislator U.T. Khader responsible for the death of the two persons in police firing, as he had allegedly incited the protesters to attack the police with stones and bottles.

“U.T. Khader, the Congress MLA who incited the people with his extreme threats, is directly responsible for loss of two lives in police firing. He should be booked under the law,” BJP National General Secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh tweeted.

Endorsing Santosh’s tweet, Yediyurappa also alleged that the opposition Congress was behind the protest, which turned violent with about 5,000-6,000 people gathering from nowhere at the district secretariat office in the city in defiance of the ban order in place.

Khader, however, refuted the charge and asserted that the BJP government is insensitive to the feelings of the people protesting against CAA, as is evident from the nationwide upsurge against it.

“I had a concern about the flames of protest spreading to our state and wished that such a situation does not arise in Karnataka,” Khader told reporters here.

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