The Vitla police on Saturday arrested two persons, including a former Home Guard, for allegedly razing a grotto of Mother Velankani to the ground at Kuntrakala in Kolnadu village, Bantwal taluk, on Thursday.

Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda suspended a police constable, Ashok, in this connection. According to Mr. Gowda, the constable was suspended for failing to discharge his beat duty properly in the village.

The police gave the names of the arrested as Jayaram Naik, 45, the Home Guard, and Monappa Naik, 38.

The two were among the group of persons from the local bhajana mandal which allegedly razed the grotto to the ground.

According to police, the grotto had been installed at Kuntrakala by a church in 1970. Recently, the parish council of the church sought permission of the village panchayat to renovate the grotto.

A section of villagers had opposed renovation. On Thursday, a group of 20 villagers, including Jayaram and Monappa, went with earth movers, and allegedly razed the grotto to the ground. The group then installed an idol of Koragajja Daiva at the spot, which is a government land.

Following the arrest of the two, the police removed the idol of the Daiva and handed over the land to the local tahsildar.

“In the preliminary inquiry it’s found that Mr. Ashok was not active in discharging his duty as the beat constable,” Mr. Gowda told
The Hindu
.

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