Police arrest agitators for norms violation, release them

The police took several people, including farmer leaders, into custody when they were about to start a dharna in Jalahalli village in Deodurg taluk of Raichur district on Monday, seeking compliance with a direction issued by the High Court of Karnataka, Kalaburagi, to conduct elections to Jalahalli, Chinchodi and Kardigudda gram panchayats.

According to the protesters, the High Court, in a petition filed by some residents, passed an order staying the order issued by the State Government upgrading Jalahalli from a gram panchayat to a Town Panchayat and directed the State Election Commission and Deputy Commissioner of Raichur to conduct elections to these three gram panchayats.

The protesters said that they were invited by the Jalahalli Police to the police station for discussion but after a few minutes they were taken to the Deodurg Police Station and kept there for hours.

“We demanded that the district administration conduct elections to Jalahalli, Chinchodi and Kardigudda gram panchayats as per the directions of the High Court. Instead of complying with the direction, the police took us into custody only to release us later,” Narasanna Nayak, taluk president of Pranta Raitha Sangha, told The Hindu.

Srinivas Chapel, tahsildar (in-charge) of Deodurg, said that they are ready to conduct elections but they have not received any direction from the Election Commission yet.

A senior police officer said that they took the protesters into custody for violating COVID-19 norms. However, the police released them, he added.

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