Protests in Karnataka as Hanuman Flag removed by Congress; More demonstrations expected today.

In a village called Keragodu in Karnataka’s Mandya district, a dispute over a Hanuman flag has sparked political tensions, protests, and police intervention. Last week, a group of men erected a 108-foot flagpole and raised a Hanuman flag, with permission from the village panchayat. However, complaints were filed against it, leading officials to request the removal of the flag. Despite the opposition, the villagers stood firm, accusing a few individuals of trying to politicize the situation. The removal of the flag sparked protests, with members of the BJP, JD(S), and Bajrang Dal joining villagers in their demonstration. On Saturday, the villagers closed their shops in defiance, and yesterday, Gram Panchayat officials visited the village to remove the flag, which resulted in villagers chanting “Go Back” in protest. The controversy took a political turn when banners of local Congress MLA Ravi Kumar were vandalized during the protests. The BJP and Hindu activists strongly condemned the removal of the flag and announced plans to hold protests throughout Karnataka. To quell the unrest, the police resorted to using force and replaced the Hanuman flag with the national flag on the flagpole. It was revealed that the installation of the flagpole was funded by residents of Keragodu and 12 neighboring villages, with the active involvement of BJP and JD(S) workers. Opposition parties criticized the Congress-led government for its intervention, with BJP leader R Ashoka accusing the government of having an “anti-Hindu stance.” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed concern over the raising of a saffron flag instead of the national flag and instructed authorities to hoist the national flag instead. The District In-charge Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy clarified that the flagpole falls under the panchayat’s jurisdiction, and initially, permission was obtained for hoisting the national flag on Republic Day. He also emphasized the importance of democracy and the Constitution in making decisions regarding flag hoisting. The minister suggested installing the Hanuman flag at a private place or near a temple to appease the villagers.

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