Three people were killed after violence broke out in East Bengaluru over a derogatory social media post on Prophet Muhammad on Tuesday night. Police resorted to the use of force and opened fire in a bid to contain the situation after protests broke out on the post uploaded by the nephew of Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy. The riot-like situation within KG Halli and DJ Halli police station limits, which began around 8.30 pm on Tuesday, was contained around 1 am on Wednesday. Curfew has been imposed within Banaswadi police sub-division.
More than 100 people have been arrested from the area. In the violence, around 60 police personnel were injured, more than 25 vehicles and 200 bikes torched.
Many including Deputy Commissioner of Police North East Bhimashankar Guled were injured as the police clashed with rioters, this even as Muslim community leaders appealed for peace and urged the members of the community not to take law into their own hands.
The incident led to Home Minister Basavraj Bommai speaking to the Chief MInister BS Yediyurappa on Tuesday night itself.
Several among the mob were taken in custody by police for violence and destruction of property. Many among the police who were deployed to contain the violence were injured. Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant confirmed that a total of 110 people have been arrested for arson, stone pelting and attacking the police. The Commissioner also confirmed that Naveen, the accused who put up the derogatory post, was arrested.
Early visuals showed vehicles being burnt and stones being pelted at the KG police station and MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy’s house being partially torched. Reportedly, Naveen, a relative of the MLA had put out the derogatory post. However, he has claimed that his Facebook account was hacked. DCP East Guled’s official car was also attacked with stones and sticks. He had to be admitted to the hospital. Fire and media personnel who were trying to enter the areas were also attacked.
Revenue Minister R Ashoka confirmed that road blockades had been put in place to stop outsiders from entering the place. He said, “By morning, we will announce who all is behind this.”
Incidentally, journalists were attacked, both by the mob and the police. An India Today journalist and TNM reporter were also attacked by the police.
Speaking to TNM, Shivajinagar MLA Rizwan Arshad, who visited the spot said, that the situation was brought under control.
“A lot of people gathered here and we (Chamrajpet MLA and former minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan) got a call from the local DCP to reach the spot and pacify the crowd. We came here to control the crowd but few people took law into their own hands, which is unfortunate,” he told TNM.
He added, “In all this confusion, we don’t know what action has been taken against the person who put up the post but I got to know that the person has been arrested. We want the strictest punishment, not because he has posted a derogatory message but he has tried to deliberately create a law and order issue and enmity between two communities. First of all the country is facing a tough time as we are facing an unseen enemy called COVID-19, we don’t want all this. Right now things are calm now and under control.”
The MLA also condemned the attack on journalists, saying that the media is also one of the pillars of democracy. “The police cannot indulge in any highhandedness against the media, I will myself speak to the police authorities to ensure that there is no attack on the media when they come out to do their work. In fact, they should be given protection.”