Two days after mob violence rocked some areas of east Bengaluru, the police Thursday filed a total of seven FIRs at two police stations which mention 16 accused persons as members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).
Three youths were killed in police firing in east Bengaluru Tuesday night after a mob attacked a police station and targeted a Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy’s house in Kaval Byrasandra over perceived official inaction in arresting a relative of the legislator for a social media post with alleged derogatory references to Islam.’
According to the police, the FIRs filed in Devarajeevanahalli (DJ Halli) and Kadugodanahalli (KG Halli) police stations level charges against over 300 people for launching the attack. Out of these, 16 persons have been identified as members of the SDPI, which is the political arm of the Popular Front of India (PFI).
Meanwhile, Bengaluru City Police confirmed more arrests linked to the incident. “60 more people have been arrested as the total people held for the same has risen to 206. The process of identifying and arresting the remaining others is underway,” Sandeep Patil, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) said.
In the FIRs, the accused have been identified as Afnan, Muzammil Pasha, Syed Masood, Ayaz, Allabaksh, Abbas, Fairoz, Muzzamil, Habeeb, Peer Pasha, Ziya, Kaleem, Kerchief Sadeeq, Javeed, Mujju, Sadiq, Govindapura Syed, Saif, Masood, and Farhan besides six others.
The charges pressed against the accused include sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 307 (attempt to murder), 332 & 333 (voluntarily causing hurt/grievous hurt to deter public servant from duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), 427 (mischief causing damage to amount of Rs 50 or above), and 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.)
Of the seven FIRs, one was filed on basis on a complaint against P Naveen, MLA Murthy’s nephew, who allegedly uploaded the “derogatory comment” on his social media. According to the FIR filed at DJ Halli police station, Naveen has been charged under sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) and 295 A (insult or attempt to insult religious beliefs with malicious intent to outrage religious sentiments) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The police clarified that the Facebook comment was made at around 7.30 pm on Tuesday (August 11).
The police held 145 people in the case on Wednesday. “The process of identifying more people based on CCTV footages from the locality is still underway. More people are being arrested today as well,” a senior police officer told indianexpress.com.
Meanwhile, SDPI denied its role in the incident, alleging their members were “wrongly accused.”
“As always, the SDPI is being dragged just to cover-up police inaction against blasphemy and failure of the state’s intelligence unit,” SDPI Karnataka President Elyas Muhammad Thumbe said.
The leader also claimed that Muzammil Pasha, one of the accused, was “trying to calm people down”, citing videos shot from outside DJ Halli police station on Tuesday night.
His remarks come after Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai Wednesday said the government was considering banning organisations like the PFI and SDPI.
Meanwhile, senior Congress MLA and former Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy urged the government to ban the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh RSS and its affiliates along with SDPI, terming all these organisations as “two sides of the same coin.”