The toll in the Bengaluru violence rose to four on Saturday, after a 24-year-old boy arrested in connection with the clashes, died at a government hospital following surgery, PTI reported. The boy, identified as Sayyed Nadeem, had tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, the police said.
Nadeem was a resident of KG Halli in east Bengaluru, one of the areas affected by the violence, which broke out after a relative of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy put up a Facebook post that was allegedly offensive to Islam. He was arrested on August 12 in a case registered at the DJ Halli police station, according to The Indian Express.
“He [Nadeem] was in jail since August 12,” Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said. “Last night [Friday] he came to Bowring Hospital with chest pain.”
However, Pant ruled out the possibility that Nadeem’s death may have been caused because of a bullet wound and said “probably some hard object hit on his abdomen”. “Nothing to do with bullets,” he added.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration) Hemant Nimbalkar told The Indian Express that the boy died after testing positive for the coronavirus as he did not respond to post-operative treatment due to “subsequent complications”.
“He was brought to Bowring Hospital for treatment [on Friday] after complaining of chest pain, stomach pain and breathlessness,” he added. “He was operated upon with a history of a blunt injury.”
However, unidentified officials from the hospital told the newspaper that Nadeem had an injury on his stomach that was allegedly caused by teargas shelling. “There seems to have been an internal injury on account of the [injury from] teargas shell,” the medical officer said. “He was operated on Saturday and died due to sepsis.”
The violence began late August 11, with protestors pelting stones, burning vehicles and setting a police station on fire, and lasted until the early hours of August 12. The police had opened fire, used tear gas and baton-charged people to control the situation.
At least 60 police personnel were injured in the attack. Police said the person responsible for the offensive post, which has since been deleted, had been arrested. Besides this, over 200 people have been arrested in the case, including Kaleem Pasha, the husband of Congress corporator Irshad Begum, and people linked to the Social Democratic Party of India, a pro-Muslim political outfit.
Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday had said that an investigation confirmed the role of the Social Democratic Party of India in the case. The police have also filed seven first information reports, which name 16 suspects as members of the party
On Friday, Karnataka minister KS Eshwarappa said the state government was contemplating banning the Popular Front of India and its political arm, the Social Democratic Party of India, for their alleged role in violence. The state Cabinet is expected to discuss the matter in a meeting on August 20.