Three persons were killed and three others grievously injured after the Bengaluru Police opened fire to control riots that broke out late Tuesday, after protests erupted over a social media post allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad.
Angry mobs went on a rampage in the Kaval Byrasandra area to protest against the Facebook post, allegedly put up by P. Naveen, nephew of Pulakeshinagar MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy of the Congress.
Residents began sharing the “offensive” post through messages, and soon, close to 600 people gathered near the Pulakeshinagar police station demanding justice. Crowds also gathered outside Murthy’s residence, shouting slogans and demanding the arrest of Naveen, who claimed that his account was hacked. The now-deleted post has been retrieved and the police have arrested him to conduct a detailed investigation.
According to the police, the angry mob then resorted to arson and began setting vehicles on fire. Police sources said the mob arrived at Murthy’s residence armed with lathis, iron rods and sharp metal objects to try and barge in. The MLA was not present at home when the rampage took place.
Section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits the assembly of more than five people, has now been imposed across the city. Police commissioner Kamal Pant said 110 people have been arrested for arson, stone pelting and assault on police.
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said in a video message sent to the media: “Whatever be the issue, it will be thoroughly investigated. Vandalism is not the solution. The guilty, however powerful, will be brought to book. I have given the police a free hand to handle the situation.”
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said the violence was unacceptable, and that the perpetrators would be booked.