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Murky Twist in Bengaluru Riots Case, 40 Involved Found to Have Links With Terror & Communal Attacks Accused

Two-wheelers that were set on fire by the mob in Bengaluru. (Image: Sudhakar/News18)

Two-wheelers that were set on fire by the mob in Bengaluru. (Image: Sudhakar/News18)

The violence in DJ Halli and adjoining areas on August 11 was unleashed by hundreds of people over a purportedly inflammatory social media post allegedly put out by a relative of Pulakeshinagar Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy.

The investigation into Bengaluru riots on August 11, which claimed three lives and injured 60 police personnel, has taken a murky twist. Fresh evidence suggests that several accused in the case have links with those accused of terror or communal attacks in the past, including the Church Street bomb blast in Bengaluru in December 2014.

This new evidence points to a widely-spread well-knit network of trouble-makers who have organised themselves well enough over the last few years.

Police sources say that over 380 people have been arrested in cases related to riots in the KG Halli area, and several have links with organisations such as Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and also Al Hind, a splinter terror group.

Police sources told CNN-News18 that Samiuddin, a self-proclaimed social worker who was arrested on Wednesday and is being interrogated in the case, was in touch with the main accused in the murder of RSS worker Rudresh in October 2016. Samiuddin, 35, had even visited the accused in jail on one occasion.

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A total of 40 accused have been found to have links with persons accused in prior cases of spreading terror and arrested in cases related to fomenting communal tension, such as the Church Street blast and Malleswaram bomb blast. Some of these cases have been probed by the NIA in the past and trials are on at various stages.

Police are still on the lookout for one Mudassir, who allegedly put out a post on social media on the night of the riots, asking people to assemble at the police station.

Phone records and other investigation focuses on 27 of the 380 accused who seem to have played a major role in the riots last week.

The violence in DJ Halli and adjoining areas on August 11 was unleashed by hundreds of people over a purportedly inflammatory social media post allegedly put out by a relative of Pulakeshinagar Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy.

A serving IPS officer had earlier told News18 that SDPI had its roots in KG Halli, which was the centre of violence on August 11.

"In Karnataka, the SDPI is active mostly in Mangalore, Mysore and Bengaluru. When it set up base in Bengaluru over a decade back, it was in KG Halli that its operations began," he told News18 on condition of anonymity.

Efforts have been made even during the previous Congress government in Karnataka to ban the organisation, but either there were legal hassles that led to delay or some kind of pressure that made the government develop cold feet.

first published:August 22, 2020, 12:59 IST