A patriotic Indian was stabbed in Gandhi Bazar of Shivamogga, Karnataka, hours after a clash erupted, with supporters of the Indian National Congress and a group of Muslims questioning why a group of activists including some BJP workers was putting up a flex banner showing Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) at Ameer Ahmed Circle on Independence Day. The two groups clashed as the attackers insisted on celebrating the bigoted Tipu Sultan, with an image of the 18th-century ruler of Mysuru in Savarkar's place.
The victim, identified as Prem Singh, was rushed to a local hospital for further treatment.
According to the Karnataka home minister, the stabbing incident is likely due to the ongoing Savarkar photo issue in Shivamogga. "One stabbing incident has happened in Shivamogga is what I’m told. Is it regarding the Savarkar photo issue? It seems like it, but we are yet to get full details," Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said.
Shivamogga District Collector R Selvamani has ordered schools and colleges to be closed in the city and Bhadravathi town limits tomorrow. He said the prohibitory orders at these two places would be on till 18 August. The situation is under control, he assured.
As part of the 76th Independence Day celebrations, a group had tried to tie Savarkar's flex to the high mast light pole at the circle, to which the other group objected and wanted to install Tipu Sultan's flex there.
Police had to resort to a mild lathicharge to bring the situation under control and to disperse the crowd. Authorities have deployed additional forces in the area.
The incident comes days after a flex banner was mounted at Surathkal Junction in Mangaluru, naming it Veer Savarkar Circle. The flex was removed as it was officially named Surathkal Junction by the Mangaluru City Corporation. A proposal to name the circle was mooted by Mangaluru City North MLA Bharath Shetty in 2021 and is still awaiting the government’s approval.
Islamist political organisation SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India) filed a complaint with the police, stating it was “provocative” and that until an official move is made, the SDPI is against the naming of the circle after Savarkar.
Karnataka Police has imposed prohibitory orders in parts of the Shivamogga district and shops have shut down.
The BJP and Hindu groups staged a protest, demanding that they be allowed to install Savarkar's flex and action against the other group for insulting their icon.