Alleging that the BJP government in Karnataka was trying to influence the probe into the recent violence in Bengaluru, state Congress chief D K Shivakumar on Thursday asked top police officers not to work as their agents and asserted that his party men had no role in the riots.
Demanding an investigation by a sitting high court judge into the incident instead of magisterial probe ordered by the government, he warned against alleged attempts to fix Congress men and said the party would not bow down to such threats. "I request the police officers, the Commissioner, I'm cautioning…. I'm not ready to discuss why the violence happened recently here, but you (police officials) are getting influenced by the Ministers in the BJP government," Shivakumar said.
Speaking at a Congress' protest meet here, he said BJP leaders and ministers are making statements and 'influencing' the police and the course of investigation, by asking them to fix Congress party people.
"Mr Police Commissioner we will not allow you to do this. Not against BJP, but the protest will begin against you. No Congressmen is responsible for this (violence). It is your (police) failure, You have not handled it well. We condemn the incident…" he added. Shivakumar was speaking at an event organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Chief Minister Devraj Urs, and to launch statewide agitation titled "Jana Dhwani" (people's voice) against alleged corruption by the state government.
They also protested the amendments brought by the state government to land reforms, APMC and labour laws through ordinance. Congress corporators R Sampath Raj (DJ Halli), Abdul Rakeeb Zakir (Pulakeshinagar) and Kaleem Pasha, the husband of Nagawara corporator Irshaad Begum are under police scanner in connection with the incident. While Pasha has already been arrested, the CCB has questioned Raj and Zakir on Tuesday and seized their phones. The CCB has also arrested Arun, the nephew and personal assistant of Raj. Shivakumar said he and his party will not tolerate attempts to put the blame on the Congress and its leaders. "You (police) don't try to become an agent of this BJP government…. work under the constitution, lawfully," he said.
Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai had recently said local level "political differences", especially within the Congress, and SDPI's larger conspiracy to disturb law and order were among the reasons behind the violence.
Further alleging that the Home minister was asking officials to issue notices to Congress leaders, Shivakumar said police officials are getting influenced by his statements. "Guilty should be punished, but innocents have been arrested for adding numbers," he alleged and sought to know why action was not taken when instigative statements were made by BJP leaders.
"you're (BJP) using power to put blame on Congress to cover your faults. we will not bow to such threats. It's my duty as party President to fight for my workers who are falsely blamed… I'm not saying this for the sake of it. There are limits to our patience too," he added.
The violence in D J Halli and adjoining areas on August 11 night was unleashed by hundreds of people over an inflammatory social media post put out by P Naveen, a relative of Pulakeshinagar Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy. 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. This 'Jana Dhwani' is also against the corruption of the BJP government, Shivakumar said, as he hit out at the state government over its handling of the COVID crisis and alleged mismanagement in it.