Bengaluru, Aug 14, 2020-
The recent Bengaluru riots occurred at breakneck speed, erupting in less than three hours of the derogatory message being put up on social media, a police official said on Friday.
“Naveen posted the derogatory message around 6 p.m. and by 9 p.m. the riots erupted,” Central Crime Branch (CCB) Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Kuldeep Jain told.
The government machinery was already strained with battling the Coronavirus pandemic, and the riots caught them unawares.
On Tuesday night, hundreds of people ran amok after Pulikeshinagar’s Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy’s nephew P. Naveen posted a derogatory message on social media.
The mob pelted stones, injuring 60 policemen, and committed acts of vandalism and arson in DJ Halli, KG Halli, Pulikeshinagar and Kaval Byrasandra areas.
“As soon as the news reached the police, cops from nearby police stations rushed to the spot,” said Jain.
Police Commissioner Kamal Pant himself rushed to the riot-affected areas to monitor the situation and so did other senior police officials and personnel.
The police was initially overwhelmed with the rioters outnumbering them. “By that time whatever preventive things we could do, we tried it out. All that did not calm down the mob,” he said.
It was only after the police fired in the air and later at the rioters, leading to the death of three people, did the situation come under control. Jain said batons and announcements proved futile in calming down the mob.
Moreover, police were apprehensive that the riots could spread to other parts of the city if the situation was not brought under control.
“Had there been no firing, it would have continued for whatever time and the damage could have been more. And we were afraid that they would have spread across Bengaluru,” he said.
The riot-affected places are not very far from Bengaluru’s central business district, and thickly populated residential areas.
Meanwhile, no weapons have been found by the police yet as some people are suspecting and as alleged by one of the victims, Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy.
Murthy said upto 4,000 people had attacked and set his 50-year-old ancestral home on fire using petrol bombs, machetes, sticks and rods.
As the vandals managed to burn upto 300 vehicles, including a police bus, cops are probing as to what material they used to set them ablaze. The mobsters also damaged a DCP’s vehicle parked in front of the DJ Halli police station.
On Wednesday, following the Tuesday night riots, police focused on ensuring a peaceful burial to the three people who died in firing.
Seven police teams lead by Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Sandeep Patil are probing the riots as 206 suspects have already been arrested.
The senior police officer said most of the people who went on a rampage were young men, including some middle-aged ones. He added the police wasn’t given an opportunity to deal with the derogatory post.
“That is what makes us wonder what is the bigger conspiracy? There could have been a little patience. Police should have been given an opportunity to do their work,” he said.
Though Naveen initially claimed that his Facebook account was hacked, he later admitted that he posted the derogatory message. Within 40 minutes of posting the message, he deleted his FB account. (Agency)