The nephew of a local Congress MLA, P Naveen, 32, whose purported derogatory social media post allegedly triggered violence in areas of east Bengaluru and an attack on DJ Halli police station on Tuesday night, was taken into custody for five days on Thursday.
Naveen, an aspiring politician and nephew of Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy, the Congress MLA from Pulikeshi Nagar, where the violence occurred, is being interrogated to ascertain the motive behind the derogatory post.
While Naveen has claimed that the controversial post occurred after his Facebook account was hacked, the police are not buying this argument.
“The claims that the phone was hacked is his alibi – there is no evidence to prove that. We are investigating his motives,” a police officer involved in the probe said.
The FIR registered against Naveen, on the basis of a complaint by DJ Halli resident Firdos Pasha, is among seven FIRs registered by Bengaluru police at DJ Halli and KG Halli police stations in east Bengaluru, which have jurisdiction over areas where violence occurred. Three people had died in police firing.
Six FIRs have been registered by local police officers against leaders of the pro-Muslim political outfit SDPI and its activists, numbering over 200 according to the FIRs.
Cops investigating the social media post by Naveen, which sparked the violence, said they had found that most posts in his timeline had been of a balanced nature. The post under questions was unlike others, they said.
A senior officer said preliminary investigations revealed Naveen’s post on the evening of August 11 was a reaction to another post by SDPI leader Fairoz Pasha, who shared a local TV channel’s report of remarks purportedly made in July by BJP MLA Murugesh Nirani, questioning morality of Hindu gods.
Nirani had at the time claimed that the message was posted inadvertently from his phone by his personal assistant.
An officer said Fairoz has also been arrested.
According to the officer, much of the posts on Naveen’s social media timeline shows a preoccupation with issues concerning his uncle Akhanda Srinivas Murthy’s constituency – Pulikeshi Nagar.
For instance, in a June 22 post, shortly after his marriage, Naveen stated his ambition to step out of his uncle’s shadow. “For every small issue I M tired of requesting BBMP engineers – health inspectors – corporators, so decided to contest upcoming election and change the issue myself.”
In a Facebook post an August 8, Naveen praised former Congress leader Roshan Baig, now associated with BJP, for his stand of welcoming the Supreme Court order on Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Baig, incidentally, is a political rival of Srinivas Murthy and Congress leader Zameer Ahmed, especially when it comes to the Muslim vote base in Pulikeshi Nagar.
The role of SDPI behind Tuesday night’s violence has come to light and investigation will go deep into it, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Thursday. Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said the government is also considering banning SDPI, PTI reported.
“There is evidence for earlier incidents (involving SDPI). The government will take a bold decision to ban such organisations. After collecting necessary evidences government will take steps to ban this organisation,” Narayan was quoted as saying by his office in a release, according to PTI.