Three people were killed in violence that broke out in east Bengaluru on Tuesday night after a mob attacked a Congress MLA's house over a communally sensitive post put up on social media allegedly by the MLA's nephew.
The mob attacked Pulakeshinagar MLA Akhand Srinivasa Murthy's house. Rioters also gathered near the KG Halli police station in east Bengaluru, demanding a case be registered against the leader's nephew and vandalised police vehicles.
Tensions simmered over a Facebook post that made offensive remarks about a community. However, the MLA's nephew later posted that his account had been hacked and that he would file a complaint.
Restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in Bengaluru. Several platoons of the reserve police were rushed to the location. Community leaders were also called in to assuage the mob on Tuesday night.
SDPI leaders Mujamil Pasha and Ayaz have been arrested in connection with the violence.
Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City Kamal Pant said that 110 people have been arrested, including Naveen, who shared the derogatory post.
"With regard to incidents in DJ Halli, accused Naveen arrested for posting derogatory posts.. also total 110 accused arrested for arson, stone pelting and assault on police. APPEAL TO ALL TO COOPERATE WITH POLICE TO MAINTAIN PEACE," Pant tweeted.
With regard to incidents in DJ Halli, accused Naveen arrested for posting derogatory posts.. also total 110 accused arrested for arson, stone pelting and assault on police. APPEAL TO ALL TO COOPERATE WITH POLICE TO MAINTAIN PEACE.
— Kamal Pant, IPS (@CPBlr) August 11, 2020
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday said that strict action would be taken against the perpetrators. "Directives issued against perpetrators and the government has taken all possible steps to curb the situation. Attack on journalists, police and public is unacceptable. The government won't tolerate such provocations and rumours. Strict action against perpetrators is certain," the chief minister said.
Murthy, too, put out an appeal on social media asking for calm.
"For the fault of some miscreants, let us not fight among ourselves. Whoever has done that, let police and government take action legally. I am also with you to see that whoever it is, is punished. Please maintain calm," he said.
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said strong action will be taken against those taking the law into their own hands. "Looting, rioting, arson — all this is criminal. Whatever you want to do, what issues you want to take up, please take up issues legally. We have sent additional police force to the place to bring things under control. We have given complete powers to the police to take action. Whoever has gone against the law, we will take strict action. I want to warn the mobsters against taking the law into your own hands," he said in a statement issued on social media.
Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah condemned the violent incident and the social media post. "I condemn both violent incident that erupted in Kaval Byrsandra & also the social media post that instigated the mob. I humbly request both Hindus & Muslims of the area to stay calm, maintain peace & live in harmony," he wrote on Twitter.
I condemn both violent incident that erupted in Kaval Byrsandra & also the social media post that instigated the mob.
I humbly request both Hindus & Muslims of the area to stay calm, maintain peace & live in harmony.
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) August 12, 2020
In a series of tweets he said that his party extends complete support to the state government. "I have spoken to Bengaluru Police Commissioner to immediately arrest all the culprits who were involved in the incident & also those instigated. We extend our complete support to Karnataka govt in establishing peace," Siddaramaiah said.
Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar said that he has called a meeting of party legislators and added that the party condemned the incident.
"I have called a meeting of our legislators at 12 o'clock today. I have spoken to our CLP leader Siddaramaiah, we will give full support to the government to maintain peace and harmony....I strongly condemn the incident and our party also condemns whatever happened last night. It happened due to a person's post on social media. At this point, it is important to maintain peace," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Suresh Angadi demanded stringent action against the rioters and said that a law similar to the one in place in Uttar Pradesh must be passed in the state to deal with such incidents of violence. He added that this was an attempt to malign the reputation of chief minister Yediyurappa.