Puttur: Citing possible law and order problems, Hassan superintendent of police Raman Gupta is said to have stopped the march against Yettinahole which was being led by DK Lok Sabha member Nalin Kumar Kateel.
They were blocked at the Chowdeshwari temple in the village of Heggade which marks the boundary between DK and Hassan districts, around 8 pm.
There were no instructions from above for the step, police sources said. Using his discretionary powers invested in him under the Karnataka Police Act and in consideration of the prevailing circumstances, he ordered the arrest of all participants in the padayatra. They were released later and sent back to Dakshina Kannada.
Gupta also felt that convergence of over 1,000 people at Yettinahole at a time, in contrast to the 300 policemen at the spot, could also endanger their safety. The Shiradi ghat road is yet to be installed with road safeguards. Speeding vehicles could also pose a hazard to the walkers, esp., in the night.
An interesting part of the high-voltage drama was the sudden presence of Shobha Karandlaje, former energy minister and sitting member of the Lok Sabha from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru. Questions were being asked all over as why the BJP’s state leaders like Yeddyurappa, Shobha, Sadananda Gowda, Pralhad Joshi or Jagadish Shettar were not taking part in it.
Heated arguments took place between the police and the two MPs from DK and Udupi, who enquired of the former if they had any warrant to arrest them.
It is largely being seen as Kateel’s personal show of strength, since the party’s top leaders’ pictures or the symbol of lotus or the party’s flag have a low-key presence in the much-hyped padayatra, a few partymen themselves told our correspondent.
On the other side, a group of about 250 BJP workers who were waiting to receive and join the DK contingent at Donigal in Sakleshpur taluk were arrested by the Hassan police and released and sent back.