Vijayapura: Veteran pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj was detained by the police when he attempted to hold a protest in Vijayapura against the government’s decision to form a welfare board of the Maratha community. He was later released.
Nagaraj and other activists like Sa Ra Govid were prevented from entering the city on Tuesday by police at Yelgur cross, which is at a distance of around 60 km from the city.
The veteran activist was in Vijayapura to not only protest against the formation of the development board for Marathas but also to protest against BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who dubbed pro-Kannada activists as “roll call” activists extorting people in the name of the Kannada language.
Calling Yatnal “insane”, Nagaraj said that he does not want to respond to any “senseless statements” made by the BJP MLA against Kannada organizations.
A minor scuffle was reported between the protesters and police as the latter tried to force the activist inside the van for detention.
Protesters wore black bands and raised slogans against the government during the agitation and called the BJP-led state government “anti-Kannada”.
When the police tried to detain Nagaraj, he shouted slogans against the government and called it a “Gunda government” (thug government).
He criticised the government for merely trying to appease the Maratha community and win votes by setting up the Board.
Clarifying that he was not against the Maratha community, Nagaraj said that he is only against the constitution of the proposed Board.
He also criticised the government for not allowing Kannada activists to hold protests, which he said is their right.
Nagaraj then assured that the December 5 bundh will go ahead as planned and will not be withdrawn at any cost. He then promised to return to Vijayapura after a fortnight to register his protest.
Speaking on the occasion, Sa Ra Govind said that the state-wide bundh call has received the support of all pro-Kannada outfits. He added that no one can stop the bundh on December 5 and demanded that the government immediately withdraw the decision to set up the Maratha welfare board.