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Local Political Differences, SDPI's Conspiracy Behind Bengaluru Violence: Karnataka Home Minister

File photo of Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

File photo of Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

Further investigations were going on into all these aspects, he told reporters here after meeting Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.

Local level "political differences" and SDPI's larger conspiracy to disturb law and order were among the reasons behind the recent violence here, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Friday.

Further investigations were going on into all these aspects, he told reporters here after meeting Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. He also said 60 people were arrested on Thursday night, taking the total detentions to over 200 so far in connection with the mob violence on Tuesday night in Pulakeshi nagar assembly constituency area that led to police firing and death of three people.

Khaleem Pasha, the husband of city Corporator Irshaad Begum, was among the 60 arrested.

"Political differences there (in Pulakeshinagar) and matters related to previous election, also upcoming election (to city civic body) and related matters are all involved init (violence)," Bommai said.

Along with political differences, 'conspiracy' by the Social Democractic Party of India (SDPI) to disturb the law and order situation was also behind the violence by a large number of people protesting a communally sensitive social media post.

"I have already said that we are deeply investigating the SDPI's role and along with that the role of local corporators is all coming out one after the other, investigations are on.

Around 206 people have been arrested so far," he added. There are reports that local politics with an eye on coming polls to the city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike might have also added to the fury, pointing at alleged differences between local corporators and MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy, who had joined Congress from JD(S).

Reports have also said SDPI was keen to gain ground in the locality, that has a considerable Muslim population.

Responding to a question regarding this, Bommai said it had come to light from investigation so far about differences within the Congress and also differences between Congress and the SDPI locally.

"The split and friction that was caused during the previous election… also upcoming elections. Along with this the larger conspiracy of SDPI – violence and targeting police stations all (these) involved. We are investigating this further," the Home Minister said.

The violence in D J Halli and adjoining areas on Tuesday night was unleashed by hundreds of people over an inflammatory social media post allegedly put out by P Naveen, a relative of Pulakeshinagar MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy of Congress.

The MLAs residence and a police station at D J Halli were torched by rioters who also set many police and private vehicles afire, and looted the belongings of the legislator and his sister. Noting that 60 people arrested last night were being investigated and their background looked into, Bommai said this operation will continue.

"We have given directions to officers to take all steps to put a permanent end to anti-social elements and their activities," he said. Bommai rejected the charge that there was delay in lodging FIR and arresting Naveen, which led to the violence,and gave a detailed account of the turn of events and defended the police.

"Around 5:40 pm (on Tuesday) Naveen posted the inflammatory post, one Firoz Pasha between 7.30-7.45 pm came and gave a complaint at D J Halli police station, at 7.45 pm FIR was filed, it is a public document, which can be verified.

"So the allegation that there was a delay in filing FIR is a complete lie, and an attempt to mislead the case," he said. Further, around 8.30 pm the crowd started gathering in a large number there and the inspector had clearly told them that FIR has been filed and Naveen was being tracked and would be arrested shortly, Bommai said.

"But, the crowd wanted the police to handover Naveen to them, which was not possible and there is no room for it under law…..so despite knowing the whereabouts of Naveen, for his safety he was not brought to the police station," he said.

About 9.15-9.30 pm thousands of people gathered near the police station despite the FIR having been registered and police were engaged in controlling them.

"At the same time, they engaged police in a similar fashion at K G halli also, and in the meantime they attacked MLA and his relative's house," the Minister said.

Responding to a question on Congress MLA B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan announcing Rs 5 lakh compensation to the families of the three who died in police firing, Bommai said it was a matter concerning an individual and he would not like to comment.

On Khan's comments calling them 'innocents', the Home Minister said, "His stand shows in whose favour he is….despite him (Khan) requesting for peace that night, those people did not hear him, things happened in front of him."

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