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|January 11, 1999||
Rallies turn violent in Bangalore, Ramakrishna Hegde's house attacked
Miscreants attacked the house of Union Commerce Minister Ramakrishna Hegde and the police resorted to a lathi-charge and burst teargas shells to disperse stone-throwing mobs in two other places as two rallies organised in Bangalore today, one of them to condemn the import of silk, turned violent.
Police Commissioner L Revanasiddaiah told journalists in Bangalore that the attack on Hegde's residence, in which the windowpanes of the first and ground floor of the house and a car were damaged, seemed to be pre-planned. The police had made some arrests and investigation was on.
Reacting to the attack, Hegde alleged that former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and his two sons were behind the incident. The minister was away in Hunsur to resolve the problem of a crash in tobacco prices at the time of the attack.
He said his wife Shakuntala had a narrow escape. He recalled several attempts to assault him in the past and said he was consistently being targeted.
Violence broke out in two major areas of the city as the protestors stoned a police cordon and attacked them. While one was organised by the fans association of Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar, the other was in protest against the Centre's decision to import silk from China.
The agitators damaged 32 vehicles, including some belonging to ministers. Revanasiddaiah said 12 policemen, besides two deputy commissioners of police, were injured in the attack.
The police have arrested 60 people in connection with the incidents. Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code had been clamped in the city till 1800 hours on January 13.
Revanasiddaiah said the police had identified the culprits who had attacked Hegde's residence. They were being interrogated. The stones thrown at the residence did not appear to have been taken from the locality, but had been brought from elsewhere, he added.
Asked about the failure of the intelligence department to prevent the attack, he said it could have been avoided if a posse of police personnel had been posted there.
Former ministers Y K Ramaiah, who spearheaded the silk import protest rally, M S Athmananda and former MP C Narayanaswamy were among those taken into custody.
Ramaiah said the police attack on the agitators was unwarranted. He said farmers who had participated in the rally were not involved in the attack on Hegde's residence.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Roshan Baig, Home Secretary Philipose Mathai, Director General of Police T Srinivasulu and Revanasiddaiah called on Hegde.
The Union minister said he was willing to reconsider the silk import policy if the farmers could convince him about its adverse impact. The decision to increase import duty on high grade silk was taken after he had received a letter from Deve Gowda, he added.
The members of the Rajkumar Fans Association were protesting against the matinee idol not being allowed to sing a song at the convocation of the Hampi University in which he received the Nadoja award. Miscreants went on the rampage damaging vehicles parked in front of the Vidhana Soudha.
Revanasiddaiah said the police resorted to lathi-charge and later burst teargas shells in both the places when miscreants attacked them with stones and slippers.
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