Bangalore is burning on the communal shore after a defamatory Facebook post by some relative of a local MLA. Communal tension hits the peace of Bangalore city since Tuesday night.
At least three people have died after police opened fire in attempts to quell the violence that erupted at about 7 pm Tuesday and went on for at least five hours in East Bengaluru, while 110 have been arrested as of Wednesday morning.
Crowds gathered outside the house of a local politician whose relative was accused of making an “offensive” post about the Prophet Muhammad. Earlier there was confirmation of one death, but the police have now confirmed two more deaths till.
The violence erupted after a close relative of Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivasamurthy had put out a post on Facebook. Reacting to the FB post, a mob gathered in front of the MLA’s house and set two cars on fire at around 7 pm on Tuesday.
Additional police were deployed at night and the police took control of the situation at midnight. Police Commissioner Kamal Pant who rushed to the spot said they have arrested the accused Naveen for posting the derogatory message on a social media platform and also arrested 110 people for arson, stone-pelting and assault on police. The accused mob set fire to vehicles and attacked policemen also who arrived on the scene with stones flying in the air.
Three people have died in the Indian city of Bangalore after police fired on crowds protesting against an allegedly blasphemous Facebook post. Violence had broken out after a mob gathered outside the residence of a legislator in northeast Bengaluru late Tuesday, pelting stones and setting ablaze some vehicles, allegedly because they were irked by a derogatory social media post shared by the MLA’s relative.
The ruling BJP, which has nothing to lose politically, is closely watching the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) versus Congress fight. Through its networks, SDPI has managed to gain some popularity, threatening Congress’s hold over the Muslim votes.
Majority of the state Congress leaders have embraced silence, while an official meeting was announced by Shivakumar only after 12 hours. The alleged insult to Prophet by an MLA’s relative led to widespread riots and arson. Congress seems to be in a dilemma over its response.
The reason behind their keeping mum is the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). Which is based on the political outfit of the Islamic fundamentalist organisation PFI. Thus, the chaos would be a direct fight with Congress over minority voters. The SDPI which has some presence in Karnataka has contested in the elections against the Congress in the past and has even damaged its prospects in some seats.
In Bengaluru, the SDPI-backed goons went on a rampage attacking a police station and setting the house of local Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivasamurthy on fire. When the police opened fire to control the situation, three people died. Srinivasamurthy represents a constituency with a sizable minority population. The SDPI has been trying to make inroads into these constituencies. If it does not condemn, the majority community might move further away from the Congress.
That’s why most of the state Congress leaders, including the leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah and dozens of other leaders, have not reacted to the incident since last night. Only a handful of leaders like DK Shivakumar, Dinesh Gundurao and Priyank Kharge have so far reacted.
The Muslim leaders of the Congress who see SDPI as a threat to their political existence are also making just feeble noises over the incident, not willing to speak up on SDPI’s communal politics. The growth of SDPI is a worrying development for the grand old party in Kerala and Karnataka.