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Mob torches Hassan village after double murder

By Our Staff Correspondent

HASSAN, OCT. 12. About 2,000 persons set fire to almost all houses and other property at Dyapalapura in Salagame hobli of the district this morning following the murder of a municipal councillor and his friend near the village late on Monday night. Fire fighters managed to bring the blaze under control by the afternoon.

Girija Shankar (42), alias Manjanna, who had been councillor thrice and was the trustee of many temples in the hobli, and Jayaprakash (35) were murdered at the entrance of Dyapalapura when they were travelling on a motorcycle, according to the Superintendent of Police, Panduranga H. Rane.

Though police sources said four persons had been arrested in connection with the murder, Mr. Rane denied the report.

Tension

Tension prevailed even in Hassan city following the murder, and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code were imposed.

The Inspector-General of Police (Western Range), Kempiah, rushed to the village following the incident. Senior police officials are now camping there. Mr. Rane said though there was tension in the village, the situation was under control.

More villages attacked

The mob also attacked the neighbouring Nittur village where many shops were looted. A few houses were set on fire at Haravanahalli and Soppinahalli. Fear gripped many villages in the area.

The mob started torching houses at Dyapalapura early in the morning, blocked the road and attacked even the police. Balachandra Nayak, Hassan rural sub-inspector of police, was injured and has been admitted to hospital.

A journalist also faced the mob's fury. Reaching police reinforcements to the village was delayed even as the fire raged, fanned by the wind.

As most people fled Dyapalapura at night fearing an attack, no casualty has been reported. Among the gutted properly in the village were crops and bullock carts. According to the Assistant Commissioner, Manjula, 95 per cent of the houses have been gutted and the Revenue Department is assessing the loss. The district administration is making arrangements to rehabilitate the affected families. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, H. M. Umesh, who is camping in Dyapalapura, said the mob attacked even the police personnel who tried to control the situation. Any hasty decision would have cost their lives. The Deputy Commissioner, K. H. Ashwathanarayana Gowda, said the authorities were making temporary arrangements for providing food and shelter.

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