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HVK Archives: ISI hand seen in Bhatkal riots (in Karnataka)

ISI hand seen in Bhatkal riots (in Karnataka) - The Pioneer

Pioneer News Service ()
10 March 1997

Title : ISI hand seen in Bhatkal riots (in Karnataka)
Author : Pioneer News Service
Publication : The Pioneer
Date : March 10, 1997


A commission of inquiry, appointed by the Karnataka Government, has
blamed the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan for
creating communal disturbances, which claimed 17 lives four years
ago, in the coastal town or Bhatkal.

In its report submitted to the State Government recently, the
Justice Kedambadi Jagannatha Shetty Commission conclude: "It is
established from the evidence given before the commission that the
ISI was secretly operating through its agents in Bhatkal."

The disturbances, which rocked Bhatkal in Uttara Kannada district
from early 1993, culminated in the death of its sitting BJP MLA Dr
U Chittaranjan. However, the one-man commission probed into the
orgy of violence between April, 1993 to December, 1993, prior to
the gunning down of Dr Chittaranjan.

According to documents made available to The Pioneer for perusal,
some of the key police officials, who had deposed before the
commission, had testified to the fact that the violence was incited
by the ISI agents and Dubai-based underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
They also noted with concern the activities of some of the local
sports clubs, like Tiger and Lion teams, for provocating communal

The deposition of a memorialist gives vivid account of the
"commando type of operation" executed by these trained agents, who
had indulged in "jamming the communication system and switching off
of power supply for landing arms and ammunition".

The commission, in its four-volume report running into over 1,000
pages, has cleared the BJP, RSS, VHP and Hindu Jagarana Vedike of
the charges that they had fuelled the violence.

During the violence which rocked the town in 1993, besides the
murder of 17 persons, 90 others were injured, 226 houses were
burnt, 143 shops looted, causing a total loss of Rs 2 crore.

Though the commission did not indict any police officer, it
observed that if the police had taken stringent action by resorting
to shoot-at-sight, there would not have been escalation of communal

The commission has recommended to the Government to declare Bhatkal
as a "trouble-prone communally hyper-sensitive area".

Referring to the earlier attempt to murder Dr Chittaranjan, the
commission recorded the statement of a detective officer's
statement which said: "if immediate action was taken to book the
real offender, Dr Chittaranjan's assassination would not have taken

A police officer had stated before the commission that the police
were afraid of going to the houses of a particular community for
search and seizure as they were prevented from search operations.
however, the commission had lauded the efforts of the present
superintendent of police in recovering arms and ammunition.

The commission has made several recommendations for restoring peace
in the troubled town.

It has been noted that some of the government-aided education
institutions are declaring Friday as weekly holiday. The commission
wants this provision to be withdrawn and enforce Sunday as weekly

The, commission has called for enacting a uniform civil code for
all the communities.

It has noted with concern the practice of granting permission to
slaughter cows on festival days at Bhatkal.

The commission has suggested "community policing" by involving the
police personnel to develop rapport with all communities by making
periodic house-to-house visits, which would also help in
identifying 'infiltrators'.

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