Hundreds of Muslims were rounded up following a violent protest that was triggered by a blasphemous post
NEW DELHI — The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a member of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) whom it alleges to be one of the main accused in the Bangalore riots case of August 2020.
An NIA spokesperson said on Wednesday that Syed Abbas, a resident of Bengaluru, was arrested for his involvement in the “conspiracy and rioting” on August 11 last year at the K G Halli police station area, after it was found that he heads the SDPI in the Nagawara ward.
“He, along with his co-conspirators including other charge-sheeted accused persons, are office-bearers of SDPI Nagawara and were actively involved in burning vehicles and attacking police officers on duty at K G Halli Police Station,” the official said.
Abbas was produced before a special NIA court in Bengaluru, which sent him to six-day NIA custody.
His arrest comes days after Karnataka High Court Granted bail to 115 persons who were held in jail in connection with the same riots. They earned a default bail under Section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) as Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty set aside the NIA court order giving the agency 90 days more for completing the investigation. The court said such extension of time without the accused being notified is legally unsustainable, reported Indian Express on June 18.
The Karnataka Police had registered a case relating to rioting by people who had gathered outside the police station late on August 11 last year to protest a blasphemous religious post on social media by a nephew of Pulakeshinagar MLA, R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy. Four people were killed in the violence.
Reportedly, the protestors resorted to arson, setting the house of the MLA on fire. Government vehicles parked in the vicinity of the police station were also damaged.
Hundreds of Muslims were rounded up on charges of rioting after police opened an investigation into the violence. The action of the police was, however, termed “indiscriminate” by local Muslim groups who said that even those who were not part of the protests were arrested. Subsequently, Muslim groups offered to reconstruct the house of MLA Murthy.
Former chief minister and opposition leader Siddaramaiah had also urged the police to “immediately” release “several innocent people” arrested in connection with the riots.
The case was later handed over to the NIA in September to investigate the violence. The agency had filed a charge sheet against 138 accused in the case.
Masood Abdul Qadir, head of the Muttahida Mahaz (United Front), a Muslim socio-religious organisation in the state, said on Thursday that more people are expected to be released in coming days.
( With IANS inputs)