CHIEF MINISTER B S Yediyurappa Monday said the state government will approach the Karnataka High Court to appoint a claims commissioner to recover costs for damage caused to property during the violence in east Bengaluru, which was triggered by a social media post with alleged derogatory references to Islam.
“Our govt has decided to assess damage caused to public and private property in the violent incidents in KG Halli & DG Halli & recover the costs from the culprits. We will approach Hon’ble High Court for appointment of claim commissioner as per Hon’ble Supreme Court order,” Yediyurappa said on Twitter.
Bengaluru violence| SIT formed, CM Yediyurappa says cost of damage to be recovered from culprits
The Chief Minister posted the statement after a meeting with the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, Advocate General and senior police officers at his residence where he is in home isolation.
Yediyurappa also said that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been set up to probe the violence after a mob attacked two police stations and a Congress MLA’s house after the social media post was put up by the legislator’s nephew on August 11.
Three youths were killed in police firing to disperse the mob at the D J Halli police station while a fourth died two days later in hospital from complications due to a non-bullet injury suffered during the violence.
Deterrent against violence
A claims commissioner assesses the damage caused, with the assistance of a team of evaluators and engineers. The costs, once calculated, will be recovered from the accused individuals, even when groups are involved. The exercise is intended to serve as a deterrent against recurrence of violent incidents.
The Chief Minister said police have also invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against all accused in the case. The SIT will also consider invoking the Goonda Act in cases “wherever the provisions are attracted”, he said.
At least 52 FIRs have been registered over the violence related to the post put up by P Naveen Kumar, 32, the nephew of Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, the Congress MLA from Pulkeshinagar in east Bengaluru.
The violence erupted after activists of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) went to the D J Halli police station seeking the registration of a complaint against the MLA’s nephew. The station, police and private vehicles, the ancestral home of the MLA nearby and a neighbouring police station in K G Halli were damaged after SDPI leaders alleged a delay in filing the FIR.
As many as 300 persons have been arrested on the basis of CCTV footage, and cellphone location and call records. Apart from the MLA’s nephew, several SDPI leaders and workers in east Bengaluru, including Muzammil Pasha and Fairoze Pasha, the husband of Congress legislator Irshad Begum, were among those arrested.
Police said they are yet to identify “the organisers who worked behind the scenes to orchestrate the violence”. “For the first time, we have clear evidence of the involvement of SDPI in the violence, and the group is being thoroughly investigated,” a senior police officer said.
State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said that internal differences in the Congress and the SDPI are to be blamed for the violence. “The violence is the result of an effort to undermine young Muslim leaders in the Congress who have displaced many veterans in Bengaluru,” a Congress observer said. A police officer said the violence was due to “changing political equations in the affected region before the Bengaluru civic polls this year”.
The government’s decision marks the third instance in recent times when it has moved to recover damages for destruction of property — under Supreme Court guidelines issued in 2009 — from those accused of rioting in Bengaluru.
Earlier this year, Karnataka High Court decided to appoint a claims commissioner to recover nearly Rs 82 crore in damages incurred in September 2019 during protests over the arrest of the current state Congress president D K Shivakumar by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.
The appointment of a claims commissioner was also sought after a bandh called in 2018 by Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj.
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