Belagavi, Jan 10: Close relatives and supporters of the BJP MLA from Kagwad, Bharamgouda alias Raju Kage, are accused of assaulting a Congress worker for his social media post critical of the saffron party. Vivek Shetty, a Congress worker, said Kage’s family members and associates barged into his house at Ugar Khurd in Athani taluk around 8.45 pm on January 8.
Armed with sickles, rods and other weapons, they came straight to his bedroom, beat him up and dragged him to the stairs. They then abducted him to a godown where Kage and others abused him and brutally beat him up, he told DH over phone from Sangli, Maharashtra, where he is being treated.
Shetty claimed that the attackers — among them Kage’s daughter Trupti, wife Shobha and brother Shivagouda — didn’t spare his mother, Ujwala, when she tried to rescue him. Shetty’s wife Padmashri also pleaded with them but they remained unmoved, he claimed. Shetty said he had suffered serious injuries on his limbs. Footage from surveillance cameras installed at Shetty’s house shows the attackers barging into Shetty’s house and dragging him out.
It is learnt that Kage was offended by a post Shetty had uploaded on social media on January 1, criticising the BJP. The MLA’s brother, Shivagouda Kage, reportedly threatened Shetty and asked him to stay away from local politics. Shetty, however, denied posting anything objectionable about Kage and said his post was “general in nature”. “I was president of the BJP’s Chikkodi district youth wing and was assaulted a few times. I quit the BJP because of Kage and his family. Kage had said he would frame me in a theft case,” Shetty said.
The Congress worker further claimed that his family decided to get him treated in Miraj fearing that no doctor in Athani would attend to him. The Kagwad police visited him at the hospital on Monday and recorded his statement, but it’s unclear if they have opened a case.
When contacted, Kage told this newspaper that he was neither aware of the incident nor has he seen the footage. He claimed that it was a “conspiracy” to malign him. He said he would comment once he arrived at Ugar Khurd from Mumbai.