M A I N   N E W S

Bangalore limps back to normal
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 22
The IT capital today started limping back to normal under the watchful eye of Central and state forces after three days of strife. Even as communal tensions recede, the citizens say there is no guarantee on the next flash point with politicians themselves contributing to the current state of affairs.

A cross section of citizens today told TNS that communal riots started in the city because of something which had no association with it. Srinivas R said it was ironical that a senior leader like C.K. Jaffer Sharief decided to protest against the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein weeks after the latter’s execution. “This itself indicates the motive may have been to conduct a show of strength instead of anything to do with Saddam”.

Citizens say what is even more unfortunate is the fact that senior Congress leaders like former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh were part of the rally organised on Friday last to protest against Saddam’s execution. They agree that it was the removal of buntings of a Hindu religious group by processionists protesting against Saddam’s hanging which triggered off the communal riots. They said the leaders behind the show, including Jaffer Sharief, Dharam Singh and S. Bangarappa, should be prosecuted.

The Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP government’s failure to gauge the damage the rally conducted by Jaffer Sharief could cause to the social fabric of the city has also come under scanner. Home Minister M.P. Prakash while reacting on this issue yesterday said the government could not stop political parties from holding rallies and demonstrations in a democratic set up.

However, the government seems to have revised its views today with Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy saying a Bill holding the organisers responsible for any disruption of the public peace would be tabled in the in the next session of the state Assembly. The Chief Minister also questioned the rationale of holding a rally 20 days after the event (hanging of Saddam) had taken place. He said such incidents could only bring a bad name to the image of the city.

Meanwhile, the number of those injured in communal rioting yesterday has gone up to 50. State Director-General of Police K.R. Srinivasan told newsmen today that no fresh reports of violence were reported since last night. He said night curfew imposed in a few parts of the city had been withdrawn though prohibitory orders were still in place in these areas to thwart any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, security personnel, including members of the Rapid Action Force and the CRPF, conducted a flag march to build confidence among the people in Shivaji Nagar and Bharathi Nagar areas. The number of people taken into custody has gone up to 400. A constable, Thimmaiah, who was stabbed yesterday, continued to be critical.



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