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CHIKMAGALUR: Hundreds of the Sangh Parivar activists, including women, courted arrest here on Tuesday when they attempted to take out a procession defying a ban imposed by Deputy Commissioner Nilaya Mitash under Section 35(3) of the Karnataka Police Act.
The procession, which was named “Nagara Sankeerthana Yatra”, was organised by the Bajrang Dal and the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on the eve of the Datta Mala Abhiyana scheduled to be held at Datta Peeta atop Bababudangiri hills on Wednesday.
After the procession moved for 100 metres, it was stopped by the police who were accompanied by a special executive magistrate. The leaders in the procession were told that they were defying ban orders and would be arrested if they did not disperse.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including its State unit president D.V. Sadananda Gowda, argued with the police and sought permission for 30 minutes to complete the procession. Assuring them that the procession would be peaceful, they urged the officials to use their discretionary powers.
The police declined the request and declared that they were being arrested. Those arrested included Shoba Karandlaje, MLC and BJP State unit general secretary; C.T. Ravi, MLA and president of BJP Yuva Morth State unit; and Keshave Hegde, VHP organising secretary.
Earlier, Mr. Sadananda Gowda told presspersons that his party would not compromise on its ideals although it was part of the coalition government in the State. He said the coordination committee had decided that the Datta Mala, Datta Jayanti and Shoba Yatra could be conducted within the framework of the law.
V. Sunil Kumar, MLA and BJP State unit secretary, who did not participate in the procession, told presspersons that his party condemned the arrest of Mr. Sadananda Gowda and other leaders. It would organise protests in all district headquarters and the party office-bearers would meet in Bangalore on Wednesday to discuss the future course of action.
Mr. Sunil Kumar said a large number of devotees, including BJP MLAs from Udipi and Dakshina Kannada districts, would participate in the Datta Mala Abhiyana on Wednesday. He said the devotees would perform a homa near the shrine after having a darshan of Datta Padukas.
He said Sankeerthana Yatras were conducted peacefully at 15 places in the district on Tuesday without any objection from the authorities.
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