THE BENGALURU crime branch police have arrested a Congress councillor, A R Zakir, in connection with the August 11 violence in the city, which was triggered by a derogatory cartoon posted by the nephew of a Congress MLA that offended Muslim sentiments.
Four persons were killed in the violence, three of them in police firing.
The arrest of Zakir, a senior councillor, came days after the arrest of former Bengaluru mayor Sampath Raj in connection with the violence. Both Congress leaders are among 64 people accused by the police in a charge sheet filed in October.
“Corporator Zakir was arrested last night. He is an accused in the case,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said on Thursday.
Sampath Raj and Zakir were named in a charge sheet filed with specific reference to a mob attack carried out on the home of Pulikeshi Nagar Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, whose nephew P Naveen Kumar had tweeted the controversial cartoon.
The former mayor and the councillor have been accused of using the opportunity to mobilise mobs to carry out the violence in an effort to erode the two-term Congress MLA’s popularity.
Among those arrested initially was Arun Manoraj, 34, the nephew and personal assistant of Sampath Raj. A police probe found that a mobile phone used by Manoraj was utilised to mobilise mobs to indulge in the violence after the controversial tweet went viral.
Sampath Raj and Zakir are considered to be close associates of state Congress president D K Shivakumar and rivals of MLA Murthy, who is allied to the Siddaramaiah group in the Congress.
Both allegedly held a meeting of their associates three months prior to the August 11 violence to erode the MLA’s popularity in the region. They have been accused of instigating the mobs to attack the MLA’s home on August 11.
On December 11, a trial court dismissed a bail plea filed by Sampath Raj, saying there was prima facie evidence of his participation in the conspiracy to carry out the violence.
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