Reeling under the pub assault controversy, Karnataka government on Saturday faced more heat over the kidnapping of a Kerala CPI-M legislatorís daughter with Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury alleging law and order breakdown in the state but Chief Minister Yeddyurappa hit back accusing her of blowing up "minor" incidents to tarnish BJP's image.
Police said five persons have been arrested and two others picked up for questioning in connection with forcibly taking away of Shruthi, daughter of CPI-M legislator from Manjeshwar C K Kunhambu, by suspected saffron activists when she was travelling in a bus with a youth belonging to a minority community on Friday.
While the Congress and the Left parties accused the Sangh Parivar outfits of "unleashing terror" in Karnataka, Women and Child Development Minister Chowdhury said there was a "breakdown" of law and order in the state where "Talibanisation is happening".
"The government is respecting the Centre-state ties but nobody should think that it is weak or cannot do anything." "Upset" with the incident, the National Commission for Women sought a detailed report from the Karnataka government.
Condemning the incident, NCW Chairman Girija Vyas said, "It is unfortunate and the government should stop it."
The incident comes close on the heels of the attack on women at a Mangalore pub by activists of Sri Ram Sena, a right wing outfit which on Saturday distanced itself from the kidnapping episode.
Rejecting the legislatorís charge that his outfit was involved in the incident, Sena chief Pramod Muthalik, who is out on bail in the pub attack case said, said, "These are false. Let the inquiry take place."
"Lessons will be taught (if any Sena member is found guilty). But don't give pre-judgement," he said.
Condemning the incident, the BJP sought a thorough inquiry into it while Yeddyurappa, who is in Nagpur attending the party's National Executive meeting, termed the incident as an "organised conspiracy" by the Congress and JDS to tarnish the image of his government.
Apparently referring to Chowdhury's comments, Yeddyurappa criticised the tendency of Union Ministers to make "harsh comments" on what he described as "minor incidents at Mangalore".
"The state government is not in control of the law and order situation. Talibanisation is happening. There is a clean communal divide where a Hindu girl is prevented from talking to a Muslim boy...it is a very dangerous trend," Chowdhury said.
Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar, meanwhile, asked the Centre to depute a team to study the law and order situation in the state in the wake of "Sangh Parivar outfits unleashing terror".
Police identified the five arrested as Raja alias Rajesh and Ranjith from Kasargod and Aravind Das (bus driver), Satish (bus conductor) and Prakash from Mangalore, Mangalore Superintendent of Police N Satish Kumar.