The role of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) behind the mob violence in parts of the city has come to light and investigation will go deep into it, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Thursday. Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said the government was also considering banning SDPI, four of whose members are among the over 140 arrested in connection with the violence on Tuesday night.
“There is evidence for earlier incidents (involving SDPI). The government will take a bold decision to ban such organisations. After collecting necessary evidences government will take steps to ban this organisation,” Narayan was quoted as saying by his office in a release.
According to the FIRs lodged by police, hundreds of people attacked police stations armed with dangerous weapons with an intention to kill the personnel and shouted ‘kill policemen’, don’t spare them, finish them’ besides setting on fire one station and trying to torch another. The riot-affected areas, where prohibitory orders have been clamped, were now peaceful and a strong contingent of the Rapid Action Force performed a flag march.
“As per the information gathered so far and video footage, most importantly the role of SDPI is coming to light. We are collecting more information regarding it, we are investigating deeply in this regard”, Bommai told reporters here. SDPI on Wednesday had denied its role in the violence and had blamed police inaction.
Three people were killed after police opened fire to quell a mob that went on a rampage in D J Halli and adjoining areas on Tuesday night over an inflammatory social media post allegedly put out by P Naveen, a relative of Pulakeshi Nagar MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy. The MLAs residence and a police station at D J Halli were torched by the rioters who also set many police and private vehicles afire, and looted the belongings of the legislator and those of his sister.
The government has termed the violence as a “well-planned act.” Police have so far arrested 147 people while many others have been detained for interrogation. They have registered six First Information Reports (FIRs) five pertaining to the riots and one related to the social media post – and said the rioters wanted to kill police personnel and destroy the K G Halli and D J Halli police stations.
According to one of the FIRs, at about 11 pm on Tuesday about 600 to 800 people gathered in front of the KG Halli police station and abused police for not letting them to ‘finish’ Naveen for his alleged social media post. Abusing police, the vandals called upon their fellow rioters to stab policemen to death.
Then the mob set the vehicles inside the police station on fire and attacked the police station with stones, rods, clubs and petrol-filled bottles, police said in the FIRs. “Despite announcements on loudspeaker that the section 144 of CrPC was in place, the mob did not respond. Tear gas was lobbed but that did not deter the rioters to avoid lathi charge. The mob then tried to set the police station on fire using petrol,” the FIRs read.
Police said, Afnan, Muzamil Pasha, Syed Masood, Ayaz, Allah Baksh along with 300 others attacked the police station with an intention to kill policemen with dangerous weapons and raised voices like ‘kill policemen’, don’t spare them, finish them’. Bommai said four people associated with SDPI have been arrested in connection with the violence and an investigation was under way.
“Already, several SDPI office bearers have been arrested. Muzammil Pasha, the SDPI district secretary is the main (person), also Firoz, Afraz Pasha and Shaik Adil, all of them are from SDPI. Their role is completely being investigated and they have been arrested,” he added.
“K G Halli and D J Halli are peaceful since yesterday and there have been no untoward incidents,” Bommai said. Bommai said through some video footage it has come to light that SDPI workers had come from neighbouring areas of K G Halli and D J Halli and it was being investigated.
“The investigation will look into who are behind the incident, its links with other such incidents in the past. We will go deep into it and will not rest until we break through this conspiracy,” he said. Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda said only those who were really guilty of the violence in parts of the city should be punished, and asked Congress and BJP not to indulge in a political blame game on the issue.
Expressing sadness over the attack on the MLAs residence, the JD(S) patriarch also said, the government should take action to get justice for him and give him compensation for the losses. Meanwhile, members of Bajrang Dal and other outfits staged demonstrations here and in Mangaluru protesting against the violence. (PTI)