Police today foiled an attempt by the activists of various Hindu outfits to wave black flags at national award-winning actor Prakash Raj when he arrived at Udupi in the neighbouring district to receive an award. Members of Hindu Jagarana Vedike, Jai Bhargava Balaga and other outfits were planning to wave black flags when Prakash Raj was proceeding to the venue, in protest against his recent critical remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh. Udupi district police had deployed hundreds of police personnel on the way to the venue of the function. The protesters were detained and removed before they could reach the venue, police sources said. The ‘Shivarama Karanth Huttura Prashasti’ award was conferred on Raj by the Kotatattu grama panchayat in the district.
Earlier, talking to reporters at the airport here, Raj said he was not afraid of protests over his comments. Everybody has the right to protest, he said. Raj said he was proud to receive an award named after Jnanpith award-winning litterateur Shivaram Karanth. His remarks against Modi had angered Sangh Parivar outfits and BJP leaders had decided to keep away from the function. They also took a campaign asking Kotatattu Gram panchayath not to present him the award.
The gram panchayat, however, decided to go ahead with the programme as per schedule. The panchayat had been conferring the award to personalities from various fields for the last 12 years. The award is presented on Shivarama Karanth’s birth anniversary on October 10 every year.