An uneasy calm coupled with a tense atmosphere prevailed in the city on Monday following the bandh call given by the BJP and various Hindu outfits including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad protesting against the killing of Hindu activist Raju alias RSS Raju, son of late Madappa, a resident of Kyathamaranahalli. Raju was killed by an unidentified person at Udayagiri on Sunday evening.
Shops and business establishments across the city remained closed and bus movement came to a grinding halt. Following the bandh call, the city police had imposed Section 144 from 6 am to 12 midnight to prevent any untoward incidents. The police had banned any public gathering, meeting, protest or dharna within the city commissionerate limits.
Despite ban orders, a large number of groups assembled at strategic locations shouting slogans against the government and the police. Three KSRTC buses were damaged and one bike that was parked on the Shivaji Road in N R Mohalla was also set on fire. Miscreants also pelted stones at the Congress party office on the Sayyaji Rao Road and the police had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the mob.
One police vehicle was stoned and one car was damaged in Lashkar police limits. Hundreds of people had gathered at the Ayurveda Circle and in and around the K R Hospital. Police had a tough time in dispersing the mob.
Though some shops were open in the morning, the impact of the bandh was witnessed after 9:30 am. Shops, hotels, malls and commercial complexes downed their shutters and the busy Central Business District including D Devaraj Urs Road, Sayyaji Rao Road, Irwin Road and Ashoka Road. Shops at Mandi Mohalla, N R Mohalla too were closed and streets wore a deserted look. Many people had also assembled at the Mandi and N R police stations demanding immediate arrest of the attacker.
The body of Raju was kept inside the Mysore Medical College mortuary and the police had barricaded the entire campus to prevent protesters from getting inside the area. The BJP and other Hindu activists have warned that they would intensify their protest if the accused was not arrested soon.
Senior police officers including the superintendents of police from Chamarajanagar and Mandya are camping in the city to oversee the security arrangements. Apart from canes and protective gear, the police are armed with cameras to film mischief mongers.
The ongoing second PU examinations passed off peacefully. While there were no buses for the students to arrive at the examination centres, parents, relatives and even police were seen dropping them to various centres.
Raju who was an electrical contractor was an active member of BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. He was drinking tea along with his friend Jayakumar at a roadside shop at Lal Bahadur Shastry Circle on M G Road in Udayagiri on Sunday evening. According to the police, Raju was paying Jayaramu, the tea stall owner money when a 35-year-old youth came walking to the shop attacked Raju with a lethal weapon.
The youth hit the left side of Raju’s head and fled the spot. Raju, who sustained severe injuries on his face and ears died on the spot. Following the incident, a large crowd had gathered in front of the K R Hospital mortuary where protesters demanded the police to arrest the accused immediately. A few people in the crowd also tried to gherao City Police Commissioner B Dayananda, when he arrived at the hospital.
Four teams – City Crime Branch, Udayagiri police team, Krishnaraja police team and intelligence wing team – have been formed to trace the attacker. Sketches have been circulated across all police stations based on the description of the attacker given by Jayakumar.
LEADERS CONDEMN KILLING
Meanwhile, leaders and the police have appealed for peace. MLA Tanveer Sait has stated that the murder was an unfortunate incident. He urged the police to arrest the culprits and deal with them as per law. He has appealed to people to maintain calm and not to disturb the peaceful atmosphere.
Former minister A Ramadas has condemned the killing. “Raju was a patriot and his killing, more than religion, is a humanitarian issue. The incident was designed to disturb communal harmony and the police must arrest the culprits soon,” he said.
MP Pratap Simha was more vocal in condemning the killing. In a social media post he appealed to the people to observe bandh peacefully to put pressure on the police to arrest the accused. Questioning the district administration and the police, he alleged that there was a complete law and order failure in Mysuru that led to the murder. He demanded suitable compensation to Raju’s family.