Protest March/Padayatra by Youth Congress Against Central Govt Rejecting Shri Narayan Guru Tableau for the Republic Day Parade on 26 January
Mangaluru: Condemning the Central Government’s rejection of the float proposed by Kerala Government for the Republic Day parade that had reformer Sree Narayana Guru’s idol, the Youth Congress and other Congress activists took out a Padayatra/protest march on Tuesday, 18 January from Congress Office in Mallikatta till Sri Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, Kudroli, Mangaluru, the temple which was established by Narayana Guru.
Launching the protest march, former State Congress president G. Parameshwara said that the Central Government has rejected the float of Kerala Government that contained a statue of Narayana Guru, who professed equality among castes. The Central Government has not given any explanation for rejecting the float. He said, “The Central Government should reconsider its decision and allow the float of Kerala Government on women empowerment, which features Narayana Guru, during the Republic Day parade”.
The march was delayed for nearly two hours following heated exchanges between the Youth Congress activists and other Congress activists during a meeting held at the party office earlier. Former Mayor Mahabala Marla reportedly questioned district Youth Congress president Luqman Bantwal and other office-bearers of Youth Congress for keeping the district Congress president K Harish Kumar in the dark about the protest planned around noon. Exchange of heated conversation followed between supporters of former Minister B Ramanath Rai and Youth Congress activists. A few Youth Congress activists were reportedly sent out of the meeting.
Later, Congress leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara came to the party office and held a meeting with party workers till 1.30 p.m. The meeting was attended by Harish Kumar, Ramanath Rai, Mangaluru MLA U T Khader, former Mangaluru City South MLA J R Lobo, and AICC secretary Ivan D’Souza attended the meeting. Lack of cohesion among activists was evident during the protest march. A batch of activists led by Luqman Bantwal, Ivan D’Souza and AICC Secretary P V Mohan, went ahead with the march from the party office, while other activists, including Ramanath Rai, U T Khader and Harish Kumar, marched for a short duration. A few activists were seen leaving in the padayatra midway.
During the meeting headed by Dr Parameshwara several other issues, related to the forthcoming Legislative Assembly, Taluk and Zilla Panchayat elections, untoward incidents, including assault on Koraga Community members in Udupi district were discussed.