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Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Wednesday said that eight people have been arrested till now in connection with the Bajrang Dal activist Harsha murder case. Until yesterday, six people had been arrested in connection with Bajrang Dal activist Harsha murder case while some are at large, a senior police officer said, amid stray incidents of arson and violence reported in the city. 

Karnataka Home Minister said, “eight arrested as of now officially, others are being interrogated, investigation going on in all angles. Senior officers, including 2 ADGPs, and the Police force are doing an investigation."

“Everything is under control, peace restored in Shivamogga. I thank people for that. Police taking action which is needed at this point in time. There is no question of safeguarding anybody, thorough investigation will be done and action will be taken against culprits," he said. 

The 28 year-old Harsha was stabbed to death on Sunday night here leading to clamping of prohibitory order even as the city witnessed arson, violence and stone pelting. "We have arrested Mohammed Kashif, Syed Nadeem, Ashifullah Khan, Rehan Khan, Nehal and Abdul Afnan in connection with the case. All are aged between 20 to 22 years, except Kashif who is 32. They are all residents of Shivamogga," Superintendent of Police B M Lakshmi Prasad told reporters. He said these people were earlier staying together but were now living separately. Kashif has some criminal cases against him. 

According to Prasad, a few more are involved in the case and a manhunt has been launched to track them. The police officer said 12 more people were detained and questioned but their role did not come to light. Following Harsha's killing, the city witnessed violence, arson, stone-pelting and damage to the properties during the funeral procession on Monday that left at least three persons, including a photo journalist and a policewoman, injured. Several two-wheelers were either damaged or torched. 

Police personnel have been deployed at every nook and corner of the city. The district authorities have appealed to the people to maintain peace and calm. Additional Director General of Police C Pratap Reddy said a few vehicles were burnt in Tunganagar on Tuesday morning, despite prohibitory orders which have been clamped under section 144 of the CrPC. "Following the murder of Harsha, there was a very tense situation in the city and certain surrounding areas. Additional forces were rushed to Shivamogga and lot of arrangements were made by the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police to ensure that the fallout of the murder does not spread further," Reddy said. 

The official said 14 different incidents of arson and violence took place in the city (after the murder), which would require filing of FIRs. In three cases FIRs have been registered, he said, adding, the police were trying to trace those who lost their motorbikes and properties in the arson and violence Earlier, a few BJP leaders including Karnataka Minister K S Eshwarappa and Union Minister of state Shobha Karandlaje claimed a conspiracy behind Harsha's murder, and demanded NIA probe into it. Eshwarappa, who is from the district, alleged "Musalman goondas" were behind the activist's murder. BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B L Santosh alleged Harsha was killed by jihadi fundamentalists for his opposition to Hijab at educational institutions. Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka said the murder has a link with the ongoing Hijab row in the state. 

"This murder happened when the Hijab controversy started. It is evident that there is a link between this murder and the Hijab row," Ashoka said. A few Muslim girls from Udupi had approached the Karnataka High Court when they were allegedly denied entry to the classes with their Hijabs or the Islamic headscarves on. In reaction to the girls wearing Hijab, some Hindu students started coming to college wearing saffron scarves. The trend of Hijab versus saffron scarves gradually spread to other parts of the state leading to communal tension in some educational institutions.

(With inputs from agencies)

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