Indian National Congress (INC) MLA from Pulakeshinagar Akhanda Srinivas Murthy says he is deeply hurt by the attack on his house in Bengaluru’s DJ Halli in the evening of 11 August ― more so because he considers himself and his party pro-Muslim whereas the rioters who damaged his property were all Muslims. The 50-year-old leader’s house ― along with two police stations ― was the target of Muslim mobs that set fires, damaged property and threw stones. The violence left three dead and many injured, including dozens of policemen.
“I’m making a request to my Muslim brethren. There is no need to be violent. I will ensure that proper legal action is initiated against the perpetrators. I request you to maintain peace and harmony and I will be with you for this,” the INC MLA said.
“Why have they attacked my house, I ask? What have I done? Any mistakes? If I have done any mistakes you can go to the police or media. I haven’t done anything. So the attack is very sad to me,” the MLA said.
The communal riot in India’s IT capital followed a post on social media made by the nephew of Murthy ― a post that was considered deeply offensive by Muslims of the area.
Murthy said that this kind of violence was certainly not the correct response. He said, “My nephew, sister’s son ― whoever it is. Whoever has done it is a mistake which the police will punish. Why they punish my house? What have I done to them? It is very sad. Should not do our house. Have I done any mistake? Front of my house is completely burnt. Nothing is there. All is burnt.”
The MLA says his family was not home during the attack. “My family members are safe. They had gone five minutes earlier to the temple for Krishna Jansmashtami. That was the time that the public have come and attacked my house. As an MLA if they attacked me, why have they attacked my house?” he says.
“I go to my constituency as a brother. Why have they targeted my house. If there is anything, come to me. One lakh voters in my constituencies voted for me. I am a servant. We are all brothers and sisters,” the MLA said.
Murthy said, he agrees with many other politicians who have said the violence was planned and not spontaneous. “It is 100% pre-planned. “All party leaders are going as brothers here. Why have they targeted me only? Whoever has done this, let the police investigate them,” he adds.
“Outside people have come and caused the whole situation. Whoever it is, let them be punished. I am telling police and government to investigate this,” he said.
Murthy has received support of other political leaders.
“From INC, CLP (Congress Legislature Party) leaders Siddaramaiah, President D K Shivakumar, George, Ramalinga Reddy, Narayanaswamy, B K Hariprasad – showed support. And Deputy CM Ashwath Narayan, Ashok, Shoba Karandlaje showed support,” the MLA said.
Murthy has a message for the public. “We are also (sic) human beings,” he added. “If we face problems, we will get sad. Public, I am requesting you – Let the police punish whoever has done. Even my sister’s son, Naveen, what he has done, go to the police. Let them punish. Go to his house, go to police. Why have they come here? In my village, they damaged houses of others too. They damaged scooters parked outside village houses. Why have they done this?” he said.
“I am telling my constituency, my state people, my country people – nobody should do this kind of violence. It is very bad. My house or any house. Whatever it is, if there is problem they can go to police or media. Go and complain. Why burn my house? I ask all my state people, constituency people. Be cool and calm. No fights. Nobody should go to violence. Shanti (peace) should be there in my constituency. My constituency people are my brothers and sisters,” he added.
Kaleem Pasha arrested
Kaleem Pasha is the husband of Irshad Begum, a BBMP corporator from Nagwara ward.
Bengaluru Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said that 60 more people have been arrested in connection with 11 August violence in Bengaluru taking the total number of people detained to 206.
Four teams have been formed to investigate Bengaluru violence in which three people were killed and nearly 60 police personnel suffered injuries.
The role of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) behind the mob violence is under the scanner and according to Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan, the government was considering banning SDPI after four of its members were arrested in connection with the violence.
As per the FIR lodged by the police, a gang of five people led the heavily armed mob of 200 to 300 people telling them to hack police officials to death. Slogans of ‘kill policemen, don’t spare them, finish them’ were raised by the irate mob which went on a rampage in India’s IT capital over an alleged derogatory post on social media by Karnataka Congress MLA’s nephew P Naveen who has been arrested too.
Tejasvi Surya: Make rioters pay
BJP MP from Bengaluru South Tejashwi Surya has said that Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa should confiscate properties of rioters and use it to compensate the loss to public property during the recent violence in the city.
The MP said that this should be the rule across the nation and those who indulge in vandalism should be made to pay. He also launched a scathing attack on the INC and accused it of giving political & ideological support to the SDPI. Surya further urged the state government to probe how such a huge crowd could gather in such a short time with petrol bombs and said that the guilty should be given the harshest punishment.