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Attackers, a part of extortion racket?

Special Correspondent

A restaurant was targeted by Sri Rama Sena activists in Mysore on Sunday


A man was found videographing the disturbance

Two of the arrested are accused in various cases


MYSORE: The police suspect that the Sri Rama Sene activists who targeted a family restaurant attached to a hotel in the city early on Sunday are running an organised extortion racket.

This has gained credence after the attack on the restaurant in which one of the 10 suspects was not only carrying a camera and a handycam but was also taking snaps and shooting the sequence of events.

The mysterious photographer — whose identify is yet to be ascertained — is suspected to be one of the sene activists, and the police say this was a sure ploy to videograph the sequence of events and later use it for blackmailing the owner of the hotel for the monthly “hafta” or payment.

The Lashkar Police, who are investigating the case, told The Hindu that such tactics were the norm among extortionists.

Daljeet, owner of Hotel Adhi Manor which was targeted, confirmed the presence of a photographer who claimed that he was from the media. He said a few activists approached him for money in the past, but were rebuffed.

Sunday incident is similar to the attack on a pub in Mangalore in 2009 when Sri Rama Sene activists claimed they were “upholding Indian culture and values”.

But there was no pub here and even the bar attached to the hotel closed around 11.30 p.m., which nails the activists' claim that they had targeted a pub and lends credence to the police theory that it was an extortion racket.

A mobile police control room vehicle rushed to the spot on receipt of information and four persons, including Sanjay who is convener of the sene in Mysore, were nabbed.

There is a case of rioting pending against Sanjay who had protested against the screening of “My Name is Khan” in Mysore.

Of the other persons arrested, Raja is one of the key accused in the Kyatamaranahalli riots that rocked Mysore in July 2009, in which at least two persons were killed. Raja was identified as the accused who had slaughtered a pig and defiled a mosque that led to the rioting.

The Lashkar Police have invoked various provisions of the law under the Prevention of Loss and Destruction of Public Property Act, Extortion, trespassing etc. against Sanjay and his accomplices who are now in judicial custody.

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