The Karnataka government will approach the High Court to appoint a “claim commissioner” who will be responsible to assess damages to private and public property that were caused during the August 11 violence in Bengaluru, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said in a tweet on Monday. At least four people died and over 60 were injured in the violence.
He confirmed that the state will recover the cost of damages from the culprits, adding that “stringent action” has already been taken against them, including of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. He also said that a special investigation team has been formed to look into the case and three special prosecutors will be appointed. The SIT will consider invoking the Goonda Act if warranted, Yediyurappa said.
The Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement that the decision to appoint a claim commissioner was taken during a meeting, as per an old order of the Supreme Court. A 2009 order of the top court allows the High Court to take cognisance of mass damage and set up a mechanism for compensation in the absence of state legislation, Economic Times reported.
In the meeting attended by Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar, Director General of Police Praveen Sood, Advocate General Prabhuling Navadagi, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajanish Goel, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant and other senior police officials, Yediyurappa was briefed about the Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act) Act and other stringent measures that could be used against the protestors in DJ Halli and KG Halli.
The Bengaluru police have so far filed 52 first information reports and arrested at least 264 people in connection with the violence, which broke out over an allegedly derogatory Facebook post about Islam’s founder Muhammad. Some reports have, however, said that more than 300 people were taken into custody.
The Karnataka government is also contemplating banning the Popular Front of India and its political arm, the Social Democratic Party of India, for their alleged role in the riots, state minister KS Eshwarappa said on August 14. The state Cabinet is expected to discuss the matter in a meeting on August 20.
On August 11, 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.
Opposition leaders in Karnataka had expressed shock over the violence in Bengaluru and assured the Yediyurappa-led government of help in restoring law and order. They also appealed to the people to stay calm.