The Karnataka government is contemplating banning the Popular Front of India and its political arm, the Social Democratic Party of India, for their alleged role in the riots in Bengaluru, state minister KS Eshwarappa said on Friday, News18 reported. The state Cabinet is expected to discuss the matter in a meeting on August 20.
Eshwarappa, who is the panchayat raj and rural development minister, said the government was under pressure from various organisations to ban the Popular Front of India and the Social Democratic Party of India.
Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan and State Revenue Minister R Ashoka also suggested that the two outfits may be banned.
On Thursday, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said that an investigation into the August 10 clashes in Bengaluru, which left at least three people dead, revealed the role of the Social Democratic Party of India. The police have also filed seven first information reports, which name 16 suspects as members of the party.
The police have so far arrested more than 200 people in connection with the violence that erupted after a relative of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy put up a Facebook post that was allegedly offensive to Islam. The arrests included Kaleem Pasha, the husband of Congress corporator Irshad Begum. Murthy’s relative was arrested.
Bommai claimed that the Social Democratic Party of India’s role and the internal conflict in the state Congress were the reason behind the clashes. “Investigations into the riots so far revealed that political differences in the Congress, its differences with the SDPI and the latter’s larger conspiracy to disrupt law and order had a role in the city’s mob violence,” Bommai alleged.
At the August 20 Cabinet meeting, the government will also decide if the properties of the protestors should be confiscated to pay for the damages caused during the violence, Eshwarappa said, according to The Hindustan Times.
SDPI’s Karnataka chief Elyas Muhammad Thumbe has 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.
On August 10, a mob had targeted many places, including the residence of Murthy and a police station at DJ Halli. Murthy’s house was set on fire. However, he was not at home. The mob had also damaged several private and police vehicles. On Wednesday, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had said the government will conduct an inquiry led by a magistrate into the incident.
Opposition leaders in Karnataka had 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.