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Netas Oblivious of This Karnataka Village That Gained 'Independence' Before India

Over the last two months, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP president Amit Shah have stopped 47km short of Issuru, at Shivamogga. PM Modi is visiting Shivamogga on May 5 but locals brook no hope of him visiting the village either.

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Updated:May 3, 2018, 8:53 AM IST
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Netas Oblivious of This Karnataka Village That Gained 'Independence' Before India
BJP's chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa during a campaign rally in Karnataka.
New Delhi: Issuru, a village in Shivamogga district, may have declared Independence from British Raj in 1942 but in democratic India, it is yet to figure in the itineraries of top party leaders.

According to a report in The Times of India, Issuru doesn’t find a place in history textbooks. But a small non-descript black granite memorial stands in the village to commemorate the sacrifice of six brave villagers.

The memorial carries the names of Gorappa, Eshwarappa, Jinahalli Mallappa, Surayanaryanachar, Badkahalli Halappa and Goudrashankarappa who were hanged on March 8, 1943 for revolting against the British and for their alleged involvement in the death of a local revenue inspector. For decades now, Issuru residents have been demanding a bigger structure for the memorial.

A report in Eenaduindia.com in 2017 quotes a 111-year-old villager, saying that on August 12 in 1942 they decided not to pay taxes, and from there their demand for freedom gained momentum.

“On the afternoon of August 12, the villagers gathered in the market place. Meanwhile, the British officials came there to collect taxes. Since we had nothing to give them, we outrightly refused and asked for a sovereign status to be vested in us,” 111-year-old Huchuraayapa said.

“After the demand was put forward, we knew that it would be met with severe repercussions on the villagers. But nothing of such happened. In fact, the British army who came along with the officials asked for our demand. We were dressed in khakis and we called ourselves freedom fighters. Surprisingly, they agreed to our demand and declared us free and left the place,” he recalls.

The village’s history now lives on in the memories of its surviving freedom fighter R Basavanappa, 86, and the widow of Marohalli Budhappa (102).

Issuru is located in Shikaripura assembly constituency where BJP’s CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa is a contestant. It has a population of 6,000, including 4,800 voters, the TOI report states.

“In office, Yeddyurappa sanctioned Rs 12 crore for the development of the village and projects like concrete roads, box drains and housing for the poor were sanctioned. But, after his reign, the village has been forgotten,” says local lawyer Rudrappaiah, who was previously the BJP president in Shikaripura.

Over the last two months, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP president Amit Shah have stopped 47km short of Issuru, at Shivamogga. PM Modi is visiting Shivamogga on May 5 but locals brook no hope of him visiting the village either. Even CM Siddaramaiah, they point out, has not visited the village after taking office.

“There is a lot of development opportunity for Issuru but parties are not interested in it. We have seen Yeddyurappa come and go, but when it comes to employment there are no avenues,” said a grocer.

Gram panchayat secretary Pramod says a proposal to develop the memorial under MGNREGA in convergence with the state horticulture department has been placed. “But due to the model code of conduct, development works may happen only after the polls,” he said.

A villager says Issuru is paying the price for Shikaripura being known as a BSY bastion. “When it comes to the development of the memorial, BJP is scared of giving credit to Congress. Congress too is not keen on sharing credit with BJP which is ruling the gram panchayat. The real loser in this scenario is Issuru and its rich legacy of the freedom struggle.”

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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