Shivamogga: Four people have been arrested and about a dozen others detained for questioning by Karnataka Police in connection with Bajrang Dal activist Harsha’s murder in Tunganagar, as stray incidents of arson and violence were reported across the Shivamogga district on Tuesday morning, police said.
According to police sources, the arrested have been identified as Kashif, Nadim, Asif, and Rihan, all in their twenties. The police stated that their background details would be thoroughly verified.
Harsha was stabbed to death on Sunday night in Bharathi Nagar by a group of men, who were allegedly travelling in a car. He was rushed to hospital, but passed away in transit. Following this, members of militant Hindu outfits gathered outside the Megan Hospital to denounce the murder. Police suspect the involvement of seven people in the murder.
Additional Director General of Police C. Pratap Reddy, who is camping in the town, told reporters that all the accused have been identified.
“All the accused have been identified by police and arrests have been made. Other arrests will soon be made”, Reddy said.
According to him, a few vehicles were burnt in Tunganagar on Tuesday morning, despite prohibitory orders which have been imposed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
In Bengaluru, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Gnanendra claimed that the police is interrogating over a dozen people who have been detained in connection with the case. “The investigation is going on, encompassing all dimensions”, he told reporters.
State Revenue Minister R. Ashoka drew attention to the murder’s link with the ongoing hijab row in the state. “This murder happened when the hijab controversy started. It is evident that there is a link between this murder and the hijab row,” Ashoka said.
Meanwhile, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed the Indian National Congress (INC) for the murder. Renukacharya, BJP legislator and secretary to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, blamed the “provocative statements” of Congress leaders D.K. Shivakumar and B.K. Hariprasad for the killing of Harsha. He urged the Home Minister to transfer the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Earlier, Renukacharya announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased.
In agreement with and in addition to Ashoka’s statements, Jnanendra also suspected a link between the hijab row and Harsha’s murder, and said the government was investigating the Popular Front of India’s (PFI) potential role in the murder.
“There is enough evidence of the PFI carrying out attacks on Sangh leaders in the past. The police are collecting details”, he said.