Karnataka Congress Protests Against Shivakumar’s Arrest

Bengaluru: Hundreds of Congress cadres stepped up protests across Karnataka on Wednesday against the arrest of its senior leader D. K. Shivakumar by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in New Delhi on Tuesday night for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case, a party official said.

“About 300 of our cadres and supporters were detained in a dozen cities and towns across the state for staging protests against Shivakumar’s arrest, seeking his immediate release,” party’s state unit spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS here.

Shouting slogans against the ruling BJP leaders and its governments at the Centre and the State for Shivakumar’s arrest, the protesters blocked vehicular traffic on the busy Bengaluru-Mysuru state highway and burnt tyres and effigies of BJP national president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa for allegedly indulging in vindictive politics and humiliating opposition leaders.

“Modi and Shah are trying to settle scores with Shivakumar by misusing the central probe agencies for hosting the party’s Gujarat MLAs in July-August 2017 and preventing poaching by the BJP for the Rajya Sabha elections in which veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel won narrowly in Ahmedabad two years ago,” claimed Gowda.

Accusing Yediyurappa of indulging in political vendetta, Gowda said the party would continue with the protests till the ED releases Shivakumar from its custody.

The police deployed additional personnel in Bengaluru, Ramanagara, Kanakapura Mandya, Mysore and Hassan towns to prevent any untoward incident by protesters and disruption of normal life by attacking route buses, forcing shops, restaurants and petrol outlets to close for observing a “Karnataka shutdown” on Wednesday.

“State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai directed the police to maintain law and order and ensure the safety and security of the people and public property from the protesters and unruly mobs among them,” a senior police official said here.

Route bus services through Ramanagara, Kanakapura and Mandya towns across the busy Bengaluru-Mysuru state highway remained suspended since Tuesday night after 4 buses were stoned and damaged.

Congress leaders, including its MLA Prasad Abbayya staged a protest at Chennamma Circle in the state’s northwest Hubballi, condemning Shivakumar’s arrest.

Security was also beefed up at the BJP office in the city’s northwest and the ED’s zonal office at Shantinagar in the city centre.