Five days after a ‘derogatory’ social media comment allegedly triggered violence in areas of east Bengaluru and mob attacks on a police station, a Congress legislator’s residence and in areas within the limits of Devarajeevanahalli (DJ Halli) and Kadugodanahalli (KG Halli) police stations, the process of registering more First Information Reports (FIRs) and arrests are still underway.
Confirming this, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Sharanappa S D told indianexpress.com that at least 52 FIRs have been filed till Sunday afternoon. “A total of 264 accused have been arrested in connection to the violence and rioting that took place on August 11 night with a total 52 FIRs registered at DJ Halli and KG Halli stations so far. More complaints are being taken up as we speak,” he said.
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 Indian Penal Code.
The death toll linked to the violence rose to four after an accused aged 24 died at a government hospital on Saturday following a surgery. The deceased, Sayyad Nadeem, was found to be positive for coronavirus and did not respond to post-operative treatment due to subsequent complications, Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration) Hemant Nimbalkar said.
“He was brought to Bowring Hospital for treatment (on Friday) after he complained of chest pain, stomach pain, and breathlessness. He was operated upon with a history of blunt injury (not bullet injury)…”
Meanwhile, the residents of the areas alleged that the police teams continued to barge into their houses and “randomly pick up” youngsters. “My brother and others have been arrested on the basis of nothing. Even as we repeatedly requested the cops — who stormed into our apartment at around 1.40 am on Thursday — not to take them as they stayed indoors with us when the incident took place, almost everyone who were of 18 years of age or above were forcefully taken into custody without even an arrest warrant,” a female resident alleged. She added that there has been “no news of those” who were picked up, till Sunday.
When asked about the process, DCP Sharanappa said, “Each arrest has been made based on solid evidence collected from CCTV footage and others. Several teams formed by the cops are looking into it and each arrest is being reviewed. Some detainees have been sent back after thorough questioning as well. All officers have been directed to ensure no juvenile (below the age of 18 years) is detained at any cost.”
He added, “Several accused were released as per provisions of section 169 (release of accused when evidence is deficient) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).”
The police added that several teams were on duties round the clock in charge of collecting, and reviewing the evidence (CCTV footage, social media posts/comments), verifying arrests, and for bandobast duties ensuring peace is maintained in the areas. “Each team is led by officers of the ACP level,” a senior police officer said.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru City Police (BCP) Commissioner Kamal Pant issued an order extending restrictions imposed in areas under the limits of DJ Halli, KG Halli stations till 6 am on August 18.
“A considerable amount of detainees are sent to Bellary Central Jail on judicial custody for 15 days. Others are detained in Parappana Agrahara with tight security,” an investigating officer from the Central Crime Branch, BCP clarified. The official added that most of the accused have been identified as members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political arm of the Popular Front of India (PFI).
On Saturday, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D K Shivakumar alleged that the state government had not given police security to Pulkeshinagar MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, whose house in Kaval Byrasandra was torched in the violence. “Days since the attack on our MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, BJP Govt is yet to give him police security. This shows the careless & conspiratorial attitude the state govt has towards this incident. I urge CM @BSYBJP to immediately provide security to him and his family members,” he tweeted.
Days since the attack on our MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, BJP Govt is yet to give him police security.
This shows the careless & conspiratorial attitude the state govt has towards this incident.
I urge CM @BSYBJP to immediately provide security to him and his family members.
— DK Shivakumar (@DKShivakumar) August 15, 2020Subscriber Only Stories
Among those arrested were P Naveen Kumar (MLA Murthy’s nephew who maintains his account was hacked), SDPI leader Muzammil Pasha (who unsuccessfully contested BBMP elections from Sagayapuram ward in May 2019), and Kaleem Pasha (Congress BBMP corporator of Nagwara ward Irshad Begum’s husband) among others.