The Bengaluru police have arrested 145 people so far in connection with the violence that broke out in the city on Tuesday night over an allegedly derogatory Facebook post about Prophet Muhammad by a relative of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, ANI reported.
At least three people were killed and around 60 police personnel were injured in the clash. A ban on large gatherings was imposed in DJ Halli, KG Halli and Kavalbyrasandra areas.
A group of protesters vandalised Murthy’s house and torched the vehicles parked outside the property. The police opened fire, used tear gas and baton-charged people to control the situation. Murthy’s relative was arrested. Commissioner of Police Kamal Pant said that the Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Central Industrial Security would be brought in to strengthen security arrangements in the city.
Murthy told ANI that a group of people threw petrol bombs at his house and set it on fire. The MLA added that he spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah about the violence.
The Congress MLA denied that the people who instigated the violence were from his constituency. “The police should investigate [the violence] and take action against the culprits,” he said. “If this can happen to an MLA, what would happen to others? It will be good if I get security.”
Karnataka Minister CT Ravi, meanwhile, claimed the violence was planned. “Petrol bombs and stones were used in destruction of property,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. “Over 300 vehicles were burnt. We have suspects but can only confirm after investigation. We will do asset recovery from rioters like in Uttar Pradesh.”
Revenue Minister R Ashoka said the government will aggressively hunt down all the suspects, Deccan Herald reported. “The accused will be smoked out of their holes,” he said. “We will barge into their homes, we will enter the streets and get to all corners where they are hiding.” Earlier in the day, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had also said that strict punishment will be given to the accused for the “unpardonable” violence.
Political leaders express shock
Opposition leaders in Karnataka expressed shock over the violence in Bengaluru and assured the Yediyurappa-led government of help in restoring the law and order situation. They also appealed to the people to stay calm. Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar called a meeting of party MLAs to discuss the situation in Bengaluru.
Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah, meanwhile, spoke to the Bengaluru police commissioner and asked him to immediately arrest the people who instigated the violence.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also demanded strict punishment for the people who instigated the violence. His father and Janata Dal (Secular) President HD Deve Gowda said it was wrong to provoke and mislead the people.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi appealed to the people to not indulge in violence. “The violence in Bengaluru and the objectionable/offensive social media posts are highly condemnable,” he wrote on Twitter. “I hope peace is strengthened.”