CHIKKAMAGALUR: Two people, who have been arrested in connection with scattering nails on the road leading to the Datta Peetha had actually planned to stoke communal tensions, investigations have revealed.
After the state government announced an eight-member committee to manage the affairs of the Datta Peetha and appointed two Hindu priests ahead of the Datta Jayanti celebrations, the district administration had deployed 4,500 policemen to ensure security and installed CCTV cameras all along the route leading to the shrine.
The work on installing the CCTV cameras was awarded to some individuals who took advantage of the situation and scattered 4 kg of nails along a 3-km stretch as they went about installing the cameras. They were angry that the whole town had been turned saffron ahead of the Datta Jayanti, which was held on December 6, 7 and 8, and wanted to incite communal clashes.
“On the occasion of Anasuya Jayanti on December 6, we had found nails strewn on the left side of the road for a distance of 2.5-3 km between Kaimara checkpost and Datta Peetha. We have arrested two people in the case, Mohammed Shahbaz and Wahid Hussain, on Friday. Both are residents of Chikkamagalur.
“During preliminary investigation, it has come to light that they were angry that the whole town was decked up for the celebrations and did not want it to be held successfully. Also, five years ago, some people had passed derogatory comments on seeing their skullcaps. To take revenge, they scattered nails along the route so the vehicles get punctured, creating a traffic jam, and thus scuttle the event”, said Chikkamagalur Superintendent of Police Uma Prashanth.
Mohammed Shahbaz is a welder while Wahid Hussain is into plumbing work. “We are yet to investigate if they are linked with any organisation like the PFI, or whether more people are involved. The duo went on December 5 to fix clamps for CCTV cameras and bought the nails in Chikkamagalur”, the SP added.
Meanwhile, Hindu activists have alleged that the duo has created mistrust against the entire Muslim community and even alleged that the arrested men are PFI activists. They have also demanded that the case be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to uncover those behind them and their motives.