Suspecting the role of “outsiders” in the violence during the procession of Hindutva activist Harsha’s mortal remains in Shivamogga on Monday, RDPR Minister K.S. Eshwarappa stressed the need for an investigation by the National Investigation Agency into his murder as well as the incidents that followed.
Meanwhile, suspecting a “conspiracy” behind the murder, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje too has demanded that the State Government seek a probe by the NIA into the episode, in a letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
In the letter, Ms. Karandlaje alleged that the State had witnessed earlier incidents of youth working in Hindutva organisations being targeted and murdered. She further alleged the role of PFI in the murder of right-wing activist Rudresh in Bengaluru earlier.
At Shivamogga, speaking to presspersons after taking part in the procession of the body and the final rites of Harsha, 28, who was murdered by unknown people on Sunday night, Mr. Eshwarappa said the procession was peaceful until it reached Gandhi Bazar. It later took a violent turn. There were instances of stone pelting and burning of vehicles.
“Many of the people who were engaged in violence are not residents of Shivamogga. They were in an inebriated state and using abusive language. They all could be outsiders, who joined the procession to vitiate the environment and cause violence. The police too might have not expected that much crowd,” he claimed.
He said that during stone pelting at shops, properties of both Hindus and Muslims were targeted. People of both communities suffered huge losses. “Earlier, when Hindutva activist Vishwanath was killed in Shivamogga, the perpetrators of the crime were from Kerala. This time also there could be outsiders. Harsha’s murder was a well-planned conspiracy and there could be involvement of outsiders. It could be an international conspiracy as well,” he claimed. Hence, a probe by the NIA would be necessary to arrest those involved in the murder and the violence later, he argued.
Responding to a question, the Minister said he would not want to find fault with the local police. The Home Department had taken the matter seriously and ADGP (Law and Order) S. Murugan was sent to Shivamogga to monitor the situation.
Regarding the compensation to the victim’s family, the Minister said providing his family compensation would not be a big issue. The Government would announce the compensation. Besides that, elected representatives and people of the Hindutva organisations would look into too, he said.