In the wake of removal of a ‘Hanuma dwaja’, a saffron flag adorned with Hanuman ji’s image, from a 108-foot tall flagpole, heightened tension on January 28 (Sunday) Keragodu village of Mandya district in Karnataka,
When the police removed the Hanuma Dwaja, a saffron flag featuring Hanumanji, which led to a strong backlash from the local community and political parties, trouble started brewing.
Acting on complaints from unidentified persons, the taluk panchayat executive officer directed the gram panchayat officials to remove the flag. This resulted in locals protesting and holding an overnight vigil, chanting slogans against the chief minister and Mandya Congress MLA Ganiga Ravikumar.
Villagers had initially erected the ‘Hanuman Dwaj’ with permission from the village Panchayat, sponsored by residents of Keragodu and 12 neighboring villages, along with various NGOs. The removal of the Hanuman flag led to villagers calling for a ‘bandh’ (shutdown) and encountering strong opposition, particularly from a significant number of women in the village.
In response, the police resorted to a lathi charge, and restrictions under Section 144 were imposed. People have vented out their ire against CM Siddaramaiah and Congress intensified the situation on January 28 2024. The Mandya Superintendent of Police claimed that the Gram Panchayat CEO decided to remove the flag due to objections from the villagers. Originally, permission had been granted for the national flag, but a saffron flag was raised instead, leading to its legal removal.
The leader of opposition R Ashoka criticised the government’s actions, questioning the necessity of police intervention and the lack of dialogue with the villagers. He criticised the Karnataka Congress government, saying it’s “anti-Hindu stance”. State BJP President BY Vijayendra accused the government of using “police oppression” to remove the flag. The Karnataka Police arrested BJP workers protesting the removal of the Hanuman flag.
Days ahead of 22nd grant event, the Karnataka Congress government had ordered a crackdown against Ram Mandir activists by reopening cases that are three decades old immediately after the election win, justifying a similar stance. Its move to allow Muslim girl students to use hijab met with stiff opposition.