Responding to the call given by the Forum of Dalit and Progressive Organisations, hundreds of people from different walks of life took to the streets on January 27 condemning Principal District and Sessions Judge, Raichur, for allegedly getting a portrait of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar removed from the dais before hoisting the national flag during the Republic Day celebrations in the premises of the district court on January 26.
A section of lawyers, students and a few leaders from Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) also joined the protests that began at Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Circle around 9 a.m. Groups of protesters staged demonstrations and burnt tires at Station Circle and Basaveshwara Circle as well blocked all arterial roads and disrupted traffic movement for about five hours.
Some of them attempted to lay siege to the vehicle of the Additional Deputy Commissioner who was stuck in the middle of an agitation for a while. The police had to persuade the protesters to let the officer leave.
Kalyana Karnataka Road Transport Corporation authorities did not let any bus go out of the central bus station and the depots. Passengers, who were unaware of the agitation, were waiting for buses in bus stands.
The activists marched to the office of the Deputy Commissioner waving blue and red flags, and raising slogans against the judge. They demanded suspension of the judge from service and registration of a First Information Report against him on the charge of sedition. After representatives of the administration and the police department pleaded helplessness by stating that they had no power to initiate legal action against a sitting judge, the protesters set a week’s deadline to initiate action against the judge.
R. Manasaiah, Ambanna Aroli, Ravindra Patti, A. Vasanth Kumar, M. Virupakshi, Narasappa Dandora, Y. Narasappa, M. Eranna, Vishwanath Patti, Adeppa Chalavadi, Jagannath Sunkari, Khaja Aslam, Hemaraj Askikhal, Shivakumar Megalamani, and K.G. Kumar were among the leaders representing various organisations who took part in the protests.