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Denied Permission, Defiant BJP Vows to go Ahead With ‘Mangaluru Chalo’ Bike Rally

The BJP has planned to mobilise 20,000 of its youth workers for a bike rally to the coastal town to protest “political killings of Hindus” in the region in the last couple of years.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:September 5, 2017, 7:13 AM IST
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Denied Permission, Defiant BJP Vows to go Ahead With ‘Mangaluru Chalo’ Bike Rally
BS Yedyurappa with union ministers Piyush Goel and Prakash Javadekar. (Photo: News18)

Bengaluru: The BJP and the Karnataka government are set for a confrontation over the party youth wing’s plans to hold a massive 'Mangaluru Chalo' rally all over the state from Tuesday.

The BJP has planned to mobilise 20,000 of its youth workers for a bike rally to the coastal town to protest “political killings of Hindus” in the region in the last couple of years. Police in multiple districts have denied permission citing security concerns but the party has vowed to go ahead with its rally.

Late on Monday night, the police heads of Bengaluru, Kolar, Hassan, Hubli, Chikmagalur, Mangaluru, Bellary and Udupi prohibited the BJP from holding these rallies, citing different grounds. Primarily, the denial of permission is due to fears that the rally could spark violence. Anti-social elements could merge with the crowd and cause law and order disturbances. It could also lead to traffic problems in cities like Bengaluru, police said.

BJP MP from Udupi-Chikmagalur, Shoba Karandlaje, charged the government with trying to block a peaceful and democratically-carried out rally, and said the party’s yuva morcha will go ahead with its plans anyway.

“This government is creating communal tension. This is the anti-Hindu policy of government. We want to expose that. So the Congress is scared of our protests and are trying to stop us. We are not against Muslims or any religion,” she told mediapersons on Monday.

The rally will converge in Mangaluru on Thursday, where BJP leaders, including state chief B S Yeddyurappa will address a public meeting. "We don't have to take permission from anyone's father (sic) to hold our demonstrations," Yeddyurappa said, referring to the government.

The Congress government, on the other hand, has called the rally an attempt to stoke tensions in the communally sensitive region.

Sources said the rally is aimed at upping the victim-projection-quotient of the party. The BJP says over 20 of its workers have been killed in the last two years in coastal Karnataka. It has demanded a ban on organisations like the Popular Front of India, which the party claims, is behind the attacks on its workers.

The rally has led to apprehensions of violence in the communally charged region, where RSS worker Sharath Madivala was hacked to death last month. His funeral procession, too, had seen stray instances of violence.

The BJP has alleged that they have been victims of politically-motivated killings much on the lines of what has happened in Kerala. They want all the cases to be investigated by the NIA, although in almost every case the accused have been arrested. In some of the cases, personal enmity was found to be the motive.

Newly-inducted Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, who took charge of policing in the state just four days ago, had earlier said that any rally or protest will be allowed as long as it is peaceful.

“All SPs and commissioners of respective districts and cities are looking into the matter. If BJP workers take law into their hands, it won't be tolerated and action will be initiated,” Reddy had told News18.

Karandlaje further said one of the BJP's demands was to remove Ramanath Rai, the minister-in-charge of Mangaluru, who she said was responsible for inciting political violence.

Traditionally, the coastal Karnataka region with many Hindu-majority areas, has been a big vote bank for the BJP. But they had lost ground in these regions in the 2013 Assembly elections after allegations of illegal mining.

The BJP is trying to regain lost ground in the region as nearly 30 seats here will be crucial if they want to wrest power from the Congress in the upcoming polls that are in April-May 2018.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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