The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the August violence in Bengaluru, arrested 17 leaders and activists of the Social Democratic Party of India and the Popular Front of India.
Four persons had died in police firing on August 11 after mobs attacked the DJ Halli police station and the home of the Congress MLA, Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy over a Facebook post by his nephew.
The NIA had taken over the case from the Bengaluru Police on September 22.
According to the NIA statement, the SDPI leaders – Md. Sharieff, Imran Ahmed, Rubah Waqas, Shabbar Khan and Shaik Ajmal – had conducted meetings at Thanissandra and KG Halli wards in Bengaluru in the evening of August 11. “They conspired, mobilised and led the crowd to the KG Halli Police station, causing huge damage to the public and police station vehicles,” the NIA said.
“Similarly, accused Abbas, SDPI President of Nagwara ward had also mobilised a large crowd at the KG Halli police station through his associates Azil Pasha, Irfan Khan and Akbar Khan,” the statement added.
The NIA said social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were used to ‘spread terror among people and mobilised people from far away places to gather at KG Halli Police Station’. “Accused Saddam, Sayed Sohel, and Kaleemulla were active social media users who participated in riots as well as instigated others to gather at the Police Station,” the NIA said.
So far, 187 accused persons have been arrested by the central agency.
Earlier, an investigating team set up by the Bengaluru City Police was probing the role SDPI, a political outfit that is attempting to gain ground in Muslim-dominated areas of Karnataka, in the violence. In August, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had announced a special investigation team to probe the violence.
Following the incident, at least 52 FIRs were filed in police stations surrounding the areas and more than 300 accused were arrested.
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