The Bengaluru Police on Wednesday arrested a man accused for posting “derogatory” post allegedly offensive to Islam and its beliefs. The post led to violent clashes at Congress’ Pulkeshi Nagar MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy’s residence and later in and around the premises of DJ Halli and KG Halli police stations after a mob started pelting stones and torching vehicles. At least three people and over 50 police personnel were injured.
The accused P Naveen has been identified as the nephew of Murthy. “With regard to incidents in DJ Halli, accused Naveen arrested for posting derogatory posts… also total 110 accused arrested for arson, stone pelting and assault on police. APPEAL TO ALL TO COOPERATE WITH POLICE TO MAINTAIN PEACE,” Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant tweeted.
With regard to incidents in DJ Halli, accused Naveen arrested for posting derogatory posts.. also total 110 accused arrested for arson, stone pelting and assault on police. APPEAL TO ALL TO COOPERATE WITH POLICE TO MAINTAIN PEACE.
— Kamal Pant, IPS (@CPBlr) August 11, 2020
Confirming the deaths, Pant told IndianExpress.com, “We have learned that three people have died during the incident. However, we are yet to ascertain the exact reason behind these deaths.”
Pant said over 50 police personnel, including senior officers at the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) level, were also injured in the incident. “Police jeeps, buses, and other vehicles parked in the area were torched by the mob. Stone pelting was also rampant in the area during the late hours. Two vehicles in which DCPs arrived at the site were overturned and burnt,” Pant said.
The state government has also ordered a magisterial enquiry into the violent clashes. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa directed the police to take strict action against those involved in the incident. Thw
“Directions have been issued to the police to take strict action against the perpetrators involved in inciting violence at MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy’s residence and later against the police in DJ Halli station limits. The government will take all measures to punish the guilty,” Yediyurappa said. “The government will not tolerate such provocations and rumors. I appeal to the public to maintain peace.”
ನಿನ್ನೆ ರಾತ್ರಿ ನಡೆದ ಗಲಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪತ್ರಕರ್ತರು, ಪೋಲೀಸರು, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕರ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಲ್ಲೆ ಮಾಡಿರುವುದು ಅಕ್ಷಮ್ಯ. ಇಂತಹ ಪ್ರಚೋದನೆ, ಪುಂಡಾಟಗಳನ್ನು ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಕಿಂಚಿತ್ತೂ ಸಹಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ದುಷ್ಕರ್ಮಿಗಳ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಕಠಿಣ ಕ್ರಮ ನಿಶ್ಚಿತ. ಜನರು ಈ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಆವೇಶಕ್ಕೆ ಒಳಗಾಗದೆ ಸಂಯಮದಿಂದ ವರ್ತಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು ಮನವಿ ಮಾಡುತ್ತೇನೆ. (2/2)
— B.S. Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) August 12, 2020
According to the police, small groups started arriving at Pulkeshi Nagar MLA Murthy’s residence in Kaval Byrasandra at around 8 pm Tuesday, after which hundreds joined them in a protest outside DJ Halli police station demanding immediate action against the people who posted the message on social media, which was allegedly offensive to Islam and its beliefs. More cops were deployed in the area following directions from Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
“We will investigate the matter thoroughly, whatever the situation is. However, indulging in vandalism is not the solution. Additional forces have been deployed and the cops have been given a free hand to handle the situation,” Bommai had said at the time.
Hours after the incident, Bengaluru City Police confirmed in a statement that they had resorted to using batons, tear gas, and opening fire to bring the situation under control.
“Unfortunate incidents took place within the limits of DJ Halli and KG Halli police stations. The police have resorted to lathicharge, tear gas and opening fire to keep the situation under control,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, a senior police official said, “The accused has stated that his account was hacked and he was unaware of uploading the derogatory post. We have retrieved the post which was deleted and a detailed investigation is underway. Possibilities of conspiracy cannot be denied at the moment.”
In the wake of the violent protests, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D K Shivakumar Wednesday summoned party leaders from the city and held an urgent meeting. All Congress MLAs, MLCs, former Bengaluru mayors, and other leaders got together at the party headquarters on Queen’s Road to discuss methods to ensure peace and harmony among people in the affected areas.
Meanwhile, the police have imposed a strict curfew in DJ Halli and KG Halli police station limits. Restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been imposed in the city till 6 am Thursday.
CRPF to be deployed in violence-hit areas: Home Minister
Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the police had to resort to firing as a last step to bring the violence under control. “The situation is under control now. Six more CRPF platoons have been called in from Hyderabad and Chennai to enhance security in Bengaluru. Rapid action force, and Garuda Commandoes have also been deployed in the areas,” he said, speaking in Udupi.
Sources close to the Minister said told IndianExpress.com Bommai is expected to arrive in Bengaluru by Wednesday evening to oversee the situation.
Incident looks like ‘pre-planned conspiracy’: Janata Dal (Secular)
The Janata Dal (Secular) party Wednesday alleged a “pre-planned conspiracy” demanding immediate action against the perpetrators.
While former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda urged the state government to take ”merciless” action against those involved, former CM H D Kumaraswamy said the government should ensure such incidents do not repeat.
“No religion or community is above the law and anyone who does not respect the law of the land should be punished. The Government should ensure that such incidents never repeat by taking strict action,” Kumaraswamy wrote on Twitter, adding that the incident “looks like pre-planned conspiracy.”
The party leaders further extended support to the government in maintaining peace and harmony in the state.
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