The Karnataka High Court on Friday appointed a retired judge as a claims commissioner to assess the damages caused to properties during the August 11 violence in Bengaluru, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi appointed retired High Court judge HS Kempanna to the post and ordered the Karnataka government to issue a notification of his appointment within a week and provide him with the necessary infrastructure such as an office and a vehicle, besides staff, Bar and Bench reported. The High Court also directed the state government to issue a notice asking the public to submit videos and photos as evidence to the claims commissioner to point out the damage and establish nexus with those who caused it.
Four people were killed and around 60 police personnel were injured in the violence that broke out in connection with an allegedly derogatory Facebook post about Prophet Muhammad by a relative of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy earlier this month. The MLA’s house was also vandalised.
At least 377 people have been arrested and 65 cases have been registered in connection with the violence, according to PTI.
The court also asked the state government to call the people whose property has been damaged or destroyed so that they can submit the particulars.
On August 17, the Chief Minister’s Office had said that the decision to appoint a claims 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.
The state government had hinted earlier this month that it may ban the Popular Front of India and the Social Democratic Party of India of their alleged role in the violence. The group has claimed that it was being falsely accused in the case just to cover up police inaction. Karnataka Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa had said that the government was under pressure to ban the two groups. However, it has not taken any such decision so far.