The district administration on Sunday removed the controversial signboard at the entrance of Yellur village in Belgaum taluk that had been reinstalled on Saturday.
There was no resistance either from the Marathi-speaking community or leaders of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), said Deputy Commissioner N. Jayaram, who supervised the demolition in the presence of Superintendent of Police Dr. Chandragupta between 6.30 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Two similar boards put up by pro-Maharashtra activists at Sulga and a nearby village were also removed.
Though there are such signboards in other parts of Belgaum district, the district administration was mainly concerned about the Yellur one in view of the Karnataka High Court’s direction.
Mr. Jayaram said he along with Dr. Chandragupta and Inspector-General of Police (North) Bhaskar Rao had spoken to MES leader Sambhaji L. Patil, MLA, Yellur Gram Panchayat members and elders of the village on Saturday and they were promised that there would be no fresh attempt to install the signboard again.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. were imposed early on Sunday in Belgaum city and Belgaum taluk, Khanapur taluk, and Nippani town in Chikkodi taluk as a precautionary measure. Update on DC’s story on Yellur board. The ban orders will remain in force till the midnight of July 29.
As the police picked up two youths from Yellur a couple of hours after the signboard was removed, villagers in large number came out in protest, forcing the police to release them.
A tense situation prevailed in and around the village, and city bus services to Yellur were suspended for the second day on Sunday.
The police resorted to lathi-charge when a group of youths allegedly turned unruly, pelted stones and threw footwear at the police. More than a dozen persons were injured. Some miscreants were taken into custody by the police.