The National Investigation Agency on Tuesday took over the inquiry into the violence that took place in Bengaluru last month, over an allegedly derogatory Facebook post about Prophet Muhammad by a relative of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, PTI reported. The case was earlier being handled by an investigation team set up by the Bengaluru police.
The investigation agency also named Social Democratic Party of India’s district secretary Muzammil Pasha for “instigating the mob” in the city, according to The Indian Express. The group 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 Karnataka government had also blamed the group for the violence.
“The state secretary of SDPI, Muzamil Pasha, had earlier called a meeting and directed the members of PFI/SDPI to instigate the mob and incite violence,” NIA said in a statement. “The mob went on a rampage in DJ Halli, KG Halli, and Pulakeshi Nagar areas under Bengaluru City.”
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The investigation agency has filed two first information reports under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code related to arson, destruction of public property and violence. An unidentified NIA official told PTI that the agency has sent a team led by an officer of the rank of an inspector general to begin the investigation.
The official added that more than 1,000 people had gathered near Murthy’s home on the night the violence took place. “The mob was protesting against the derogatory social media (Facebook) post about Prophet Muhammad made on August 11, 2020, around 4 pm by Naveen, the nephew of the MLA, allegedly insulting the religious sentiments of Muslims,” the official said.
The NIA official added that the mob had vandalised Murthy’s house and two police stations and damaged several vehicles.
Three people were killed and around 60 police personnel were injured in the clash on August 11. The police had imposed a ban on large gatherings in the city’s DJ Halli, KG Halli and Kavalbyrasandra areas.
As many as 377 people have been arrested and 65 cases registered in connection with the violence so far. Last month, the Karnataka High Court had appointed a retired judge as a claims commissioner to assess the damages caused to properties during the violence.