‘Act Not Premeditated, Done After Drinking Alcohol,’ Say Police After Islamic Flag On Shankaracharya Statue Sparked Row
In Karnataka’s temple town of Shringeri, an incident where a cloth resembling the flag of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) was found on the statue of Adi Shankaracharya, caused tension recently. SDPI is a political arm of the Islamic fundamentalist organisation Popular Front of India.
The incident happened on the intervening night of 12 and 13 August and was seen by some as linked to the recent mob violence in the city.
After a picture of the flag on the statue, located at Veerappa Gowda circle in Shringeri town went viral, local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders raised the issue.
Chikmaglur MP Shobha Karandlaje tweeted: "Planting SDPI flag on Sri Shankaracharya's statue in Sringeri & inciting violence. It's high time that, Govt led by Sri @BSYBJP recommends central govt to ban this terror outfit. Orgs like SDPI & PFI are threat to mankind, national security & for a harmonious society.”
Another BJP leader, CT Ravi, who is minister for Kannada and culture and tourism department in the Karnataka government, also demanded an investigation into the matter:
An FIR in the matter was filed on 13 August at Shringeri police station (number 45/2020). Four accused were booked under IPC sections 295(A), 153(A), 141 and 149.
The police have now issued an official statement saying that the act was not premeditated, the person was under the influence of alcohol and the cloth was not a flag of SDPI but a banner from Sringeri Jamiya Mosque that was used during Eid-Milad festival.
The superintendent of police (SP) of Chikkamagaluru posted a press release on 14 August in the matter. It says that “the person was completely under the influence of alcohol, he was not aware of what he had done and was also not aware of further consequences”.
As per the police, “it was found that the act was not premeditated and was not done on purpose. Under the influence of alcohol, the person had brought a banner from a mosque that reflected a religion and had placed the same over a pavilion on the state of Shree Shankaracharya.”
The release further says, “During interrogation, the person admitted that under the influence of alcohol, he had placed a cloth belonging to one God over another God. He also revealed that as it was raining heavily, he took that banner to cover himself. After knowing that the banner relates to a God, he thought of giving it to another God and placed the banner over a billion on the statue of Shree Shankaracharya.”
As per this report, the person has been identified as 28-year-old Milind.
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