BENGALURU: Three people have died after police opened fire in attempts to quell violence that erupted at about 7pm Tuesday and went on for at least five hours in East Bengaluru, while 110 have been arrested as of Wednesday morning.
By afternoon, police confirmed that Muzamill Pasha and six others from the
Social Democratic Party of India
(SDPI) have also been detained for questioning. Until late last night, there was confirmation of one death, but the police have now confirmed two more deaths.
The violence had erupted after a close relative of MLA Akhanda Srinivasamurthy put out a post that allegedly showed
in poor light, reacting to which a mob gathered in front of the politician’s house and set two cars on fire at around 7pm.
According to the police, the mob split into groups. Groups of protesters went around and forced shopkeepers to shut shops in Pulakeshinagar, Bharatinagar, Commercial Street and Tannery Road. Vehicle tyres were set on fire and placed at several places on Tannery Road. A fire tender was also damaged.
Around 150 armed police personnel from the east division were pressed into service as of last night, as senior police officials’ attempt — including efforts by deputy commissioner of police (east) SD Sharanappa’s — to pacify the mob was futile.
Two huge mobs gathered in front of the KG Halli and DJ Halli police stations, the basement of the latter was set on fire. The police said that a portion of Murthy’s house in Kavalbyrasandra was also set ablaze by the mob that burnt down tens of vehicles, the details of which are being collated.
On Wednesday, home minister Basavaraj Bommai cancelled his reviewing of disaster management preparedness in Mangaluru, in wake of the violence in the Capital city. His office said he was rushing back to Bengaluru and that he was in constant touch with senior police officers.
The mob last night had demanded that the police immediately place Srinivasamurthy’s relative — identified as Naveen P — under arrest. There was no confirmation on whether Naveen has been taken into custody.
After the attack on Srinivasamurthy’s house, the mob fought pitched battles with the police, and set ablaze several vehicles and the cops said that a team led by city commissioner Kamal Pant was even attacked with stones. Scores of policemen and several protesters were injured in the violence.
Srinivasamurthy’s relative late last night claimed that his
account was hacked and that he did not post the objectionable content.
“This is an act of miscreants. The police and government will investigate and initiate legal action against mischief-mongers. I’m the MLA of this constituency and everyone here is my family. I request you to maintain peace. I fear miscreants may take advantage of the situation,” Srinivasamurthy said.
The situation was brought under control past 12am Wednesday and no fresh bout of violence was seen since morning.