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Six Pro-Kannada Activists Arrested in Bengaluru for Tearing Down Hindi Banner, Twitter Stands Divided

File photo of MJP MP Tejasvi Surya.

File photo of MJP MP Tejasvi Surya.

The incident has divided Tweeple with some protesting the arrest of the accused and others condemning the incident, while also saying using Hindi without Kannada was unacceptable.

Bengaluru: Six members of the pro-Kannada organisation Kannada Rakshana Sene were arrested on Sunday after they tore down a Hindi banner outside a Jain temple in Bengaluru.

The incident took place on Friday when a group of people gathered outside the Jain temple on Infantry Road. In a video of the incident, the accused are seen questioning a man at the location why the information (of upcoming programmes) on the banner was in Hindi and not Kannada.

The Bengaluru police have registered a case against the accused for promoting enmity between different groups, mischief causing damages, insulting and provocating to break public peace and criminal intimidation. The arrested are Anjanappa, Harish Gowda, Ramesh Gowda, Mahesh Gowda, Chandrashekar and Manjunath.

The incident took a political turn after BJP MP from South Bengaluru tweeted: "Deeply hurt over attack on our Jain brothers in B'luru over हिन्दी on a banner of a temple by few rowdy elements. They however never question use of عربى in Bengaluru. Assaulting peaceful Jains who contribute to Karnataka brings infamy to genuine Kannada lovers & activists."

Surya was criticised by Kannada activists and Congress-JDS social media members for "communalising the incident over language issue".

In his next tweet in an hour, however, Tejasvi Surya asked the Jains in Karnataka to learn Kannada history: “Many great poets like Pampa, Ponna & Ranna known as Ratnatraya or three gems of Kannada literature were Jains. Very beginning of Kannada literature is Jaina Yuga. Therefore, I urge today's young Jains in Karnataka to learn this history & also use Kannada in their communications.”

The incident has divided Tweeple with some protesting the arrest of the accused and others condemning the incident, while also saying using Hindi without Kannada was unacceptable.

"It was a welcome banner as many from our community from across the country would be coming during the holy months of Chatur which goes on for four months. This is the biggest prayer hall in Bengaluru for us. Even our gurujis would be coming. It is a religious thing. None of us had the intention of not using Kannada. One person who was there even told them to give one day's time to change it but they kept threatening," said a person from the community on condition of anonymity.

A pro-Kannada activist, Ganesh Chetan, said: "They (BJP) have made it political. It was a local issue that had to be sorted out locally. Tearing the banner was a form of protest. Slapping non-bailable offences for that was unnecessary and was done only for political reasons. We will help the arrested persons legally.”

A group of Kannada activists have announced a protest against the arrest at Town Hall in Bengaluru on Monday at 5.30pm.