Situation escalates following assault on Bengaluru shopkeeper

Bengaluru, Mar 19 (UNI) The situation in Bengaluru’s Nagarathpet on Tuesday escalated significantly following the assault on a shopkeeper for allegedly playing Hanuman Chalisa during Azaan.

The incident has triggered a massive protest, with people chanting Hanuman Chalisa and Jai Shree Ram here on Tuesday.

The police have imposed prohibitory orders to bring the situation under control.

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya and Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje have been detained as the protest intensified.

Surya, who is a BJP Lok Sabha candidate, had previously called on party workers to wear saffron shawls and chant Hanuman Chalisa at Nagarathpet Tuesday.

He emphasised that the campaign should commence at 12.30 pm outside Mukesh Singh’s shop and urged for the chanting to resonate throughout the area.

Surya urged the Bengaluru City Commissioner B Dayananda to order an investigation into the matter and apprehend the remaining accused.

The attackers allegedly demanded that Mukesh switch off the Hanuman Chalisa, and when he refused, they assaulted him, resulting in serious injuries.

“Mukesh told me that every evening, he had a practice of playing devotional songs …. Hanuman Chalisa on his speaker … Last evening while he was conducting his business, attending to his customers and playing Hanuman Chalisa, a few miscreants came to his shop, the whole of which was captured was captured on CCTV.

“They argued with him and demanded that he switch it off and stop playing the Hanuman Chalisa,” he told reporters.

“When he (Mukesh) refused, he was pulled out of his store and six-seven miscreants thrashed and attacked him … He has suffered grievous injuries,” Surya added.

Giving an account of being threatened and physically assaulted for playing devotional music, Mukesh told reporters, “Yesterday around 6.15 pm, I was playing a devotional song …

“Three to four people came and threatened me that they would beat me up if I played loudly with speaker … I asked them what was the problem. They said it’s our Azaan time now and that such (bhajans) should not be played at this time.

“If you play like this, we will beat you. Later, one of them grabbed my collar and when I tried to resist, they thrashed me and threatened to stab me with a knife,” he added.

Attacking the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government over the law and order situation in the state, Karnataka BJP President Vijayendra Yediyurappa called for the swift arrest of the assaulters.

Vijayendra also linked this incident to other instances of religious tension and violence in the state, such as the chanting of “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans in Vidhan Soudha and a bomb explosion at Rameshwaram Cafe, suggesting a pattern of deteriorating communal harmony.

Accusations of appeasement politics and failure to address these issues effectively by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government are pushing Karnataka into a radical state with an absolute breakdown of law and order, he alleged in a post on X.

Holding the Chief Minister and his government accountable for the attack on Hindus and Hindu establishments, he said, Siddaramaiah’s appeasement politics has encouraged barbarians to go on a rampage in the state.

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