Belagavi, Aug 28 (IANS) A clash erupted between two groups over the installation of 19th century freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna’s statue at Peeranwadi village in Karnataka’s Belagavi district, police said on Friday.
“The two groups were caned and dispersed from the spot where Rayanna’s statue was installed and unveiled in the wee hours after they clashed over its location at the T-junction road of the village in the border district,” Belagavi Police Superintendent Laxman Nimbargi told reporters here.
Belagavi is about 500 km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state. “As Rayanna’s statue was installed at the junction where the Marathis wanted to have the 17th century Maratha king Chatrapathi Shivaji’s statue, the latter protested against the locals (Kannadigas) for unveiling the former’s statue,” said Nimbargi.
As a revolutionary warrior, Rayanna (1798-1831) fought against the British East India Company in the Kittur princely state ruled by Rani Chennamma. “When the locals were celebrating the event and hailing Rayanna, the Marathi-speaking people objected to it, leading to a clash between them,” said Nimbargi.
State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said in Bengaluru that the tense situation in the village was brought under control by the police which acted swiftly against the clashing groups. “Additional police has been deployed in the village to maintain law and order and ensure peace between the two communities,” Bommai told reporters.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa also said he had directed the Belagavi Deputy Commissioner to resolve the issue peacefully by holding talks with the groups. Water Resources and Belagavi district in-charge Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi on Thursday said Rayanna was not confined to any community and the freedom fighter was admired by all.