A second fact-finding committee on the violent mob attacks in eastern Bengaluru on August 11 found that there is a lack of substantial evidence to call the incident communal and stated that the police failed to act expeditiously when they were approached with a complaint.
The report was prepared by a team of members from civil society organisations in Bengaluru, including Nina Nayak, former chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, independent journalist Cynthia Stephen and 21 others.
"There is a lack of substantial evidence to suggest that the mob violence was communal in nature, in that it specifically targeted the Hindu community or that it was premeditated and pre-planned," the report stated.
Earlier this month, a fact-finding committee released a report on the violent incidents in eastern Bengaluru, terming it a communal attack on Hindu residents in the area. The report released on September 4 was compiled by ‘Citizens for Democracy', a committee appointed by the state government, Tourism Minister CT Ravi said. The address of the committee mentioned in the report is also that of 'Vikrama Weekly', a magazine affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The report released on Wednesday stated that the rioters in the violent incidents did not specifically target Hindu residences. "It is accepted by various groups that Muslim youth assisted in the protection of Hindu and Christian families and the homes and vehicles of Hindus. They formed human chains outside the Hanuman temple and the police station to keep away the mob. In Kaval Byrasandra, a property belonging to a Muslim was vandalised and damaged while vehicles of Muslims were also burnt regarding which they have filed police complaints," stated the report.
However, it added that "While some individuals and houses of Hindus were randomly targeted, it was felt that this moment was used to seek personal vendetta on some families and not communal in nature. Many Hindu families whose houses were vandalised shared that it was the local Muslim families who also helped protect their property."
The report also highlighted that police inaction led to the crowds swelling and the subsequent mob attacks. "Not only did the police fail to act expeditiously and effectively on the post when small delegations approached the police station, but they also failed to intervene in effective ways in preventing the violence from escalating in DJ Halli, KG Halli and Kaval Byrasandra," stated the report.
Violent mob attacks occurred in DJ Halli and KG Halli in eastern Bengaluru on the night of August 11 after a mob of local residents gathered in response to a Facebook post termed derogatory by Muslims. The post was uploaded by Naveen P, nephew of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy. The mob was angered by the police's inaction over a complaint against Naveen's post and launched attacks on two police stations – in DJ Halli and KG Halli – and the MLA's residence in Kaval Byrasandra.
The attacks began at 9.30 pm on August 11 and the situation was brought under control in the early hours of August 12 by police which opened fire against the mob, killing three people. Muzzammil Pasha, an SDPI leader from Bengaluru, had approached the DJ Halli police station with a complaint against Naveen at 7.45 pm on August 11. He is now among hundreds of people arrested in connection with the violence while many have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The report released on Wednesday called for the charges under the UAPA to be withdrawn. "There must be an enquiry conducted into the arrest of persons, to ensure that all innocent persons are immediately released. The families of the accused persons must be informed regarding the cases against them and their whereabouts," read the report.
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