'Bengaluru's Image Important for Us': Congress Condemns Clashes, Questions Role of Police

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A day after the attack on its party MLA in Bengaluru, the Congress has condemned the incident and has questioned the role of the police in controlling the riots in which three persons died.

Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a statement on Wednesday said, "Riots and arson are reprehensible, condemnable and unacceptable, and it is a complete failure of the law and order machinery and rule of law."

The Congress raised questions about the role of the police and the BS Yediyurappa government.

"Was the Yediyurappa government sleeping or waiting for violence to happen. And, why did the police not act in time? Who is responsible for the three deaths?" asked Surjewala.

Condemning the violence, Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar tweeted: "No one must take law into their own hands. The government must take strict and exemplary action against the person who made the derogatory social media post as well as those who indulged in rioting and arson."

He added that after speaking to CLP leader Siddaramaiah, the party had decided to give full support to the government to maintain peace and harmony.

"For us, Karnataka is important, the image of Bengaluru is important. These people (the MLA's nephew who posted an anti-Islamic tweet) are trying to colourise this. All this is BJP's conspiracy and hidden agenda. BJP leaders are provoking everyone," Shivakumar said.

Terming the violence in the city as a 'well planned act,' Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka said the 'traitors,' who perpetrated the riots would be dealt with an iron hand and steps would be taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

"The manner in which the riots were perpetrated shows that it was a well planned act and was intended to spread to other parts of the city. These are traitors and we will subdue them," Ashoka said.

The remarks come after the BJP leaders questioned the silence of the Congress on the whole incident, which occurred on Tuesday in which the house of the Congress MLA was attacked by a mob.

Three people died in the police firing, 60 policemen were injured and several vehicles were set ablaze in Bengaluru on Tuesday night after Congress MLA Akanda Srinivas Murthy's nephew Naveen allegedly posted a derogatory message on social media. Naveen has been arrested. The police had to resort to firing in order to bring the situation under control.

Congress MLA Srinivasamurthy, whose residence in Bengaluru was attacked on Tuesday night, said he had spoken to the home minister and police officers over the incident. "I have spoken to the home minister, police officials and my party leaders over the incident. All those who did this are not from my constituency, they are outsiders. It will be good if I get security," he said.

(With inputs from IANS)