The Bengaluru Police have arrested 60 more people in relation to the violence that began in the city on Tuesday, taking the total number of arrests to 206, reported ANI. The fresh round of arrests include Kaleem Pasha, the husband of Congress corporator Irshad Begum, Bengaluru Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said.
At least three people were killed and around 60 police personnel were injured in Bengaluru when protestors clashed with the police. The demonstrations began after a relative of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy put up a Facebook post that was allegedly offensive to Islam. Murthy’s relative was arrested.
On Thursday, the police filed seven first information reports related to Tuesday night’s violence. The reports mention 16 suspects as members of the Social Democratic Party of India, according to The Indian Express.
The Social Democratic Party of India is the political arm of the Popular Front of India, a Muslim organisation that describes itself on its Facebook page as working for equal rights, freedom, justice and security for all Indians. The organisation had earlier denied being involved in the violence.
The police have said the FIRs at police stations in Devarajeevanahalli or DJ Halli and Kadugodanahalli or KJ Halli has charged more than 300 people. The offences include 147 (rioting), sections 143 (unlawful assembly), and 307 (attempt to murder), among others.
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said that an inquiry into the episode revealed that SDPI members played a role in it. On Wednesday, at least 145 people were arrested in connection with the violence.
SDPI’s Karnataka chief Elyas Muhammad Thumbe refuted the allegations against the group and said it was being dragged into the incident “just to cover-up police inaction against blasphemy and failure of the state’s intelligence unit”. He added that one of the accused, Muzammil Pasha, had attempted to defuse tension and cited videos taken outside the DJ Halli police station on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party leader BL Santhosh accused the Congress of indulging in politics. “Kalim Pasha, husband of Congress’ corporator arrested, he tweeted. “Four senior functionaries of SDPI arrested. Still state Congress leaders trying to shift blame. Not condemning riots. Eyes only on upcoming BBMP [Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike] elections.”
On the other hand, senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy appealed to the government to ban the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the BJP, along with the SDPI. Reddy described the groups as “two sides of the same coin.”