A LOCAL politician in Bangalore – Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, inset above – was reportedly targeted by angry Muslims yesterday (Tuesday) because a relative had allegedly put a ‘blasphemous’ post regarding the ‘prophet’ Mohammed on Facebook.
In an ensuing riot, which saw vehicles set on fire, police property wrecked and an ATM machine trashed, police where forced to open fire. Three people died.
According to the BBC, the relative – along with 110 others – were taken into custody.
In an interview with India’s TV9, a visibly shaken Murthy alleged that valuables had been looted from his home, and that he was seeking government protection.
City commissioner Kamal Pant said that at least 60 policemen including senior officers were injured in the violence. A curfew was also imposed in two police districts of the city, he said.
Meanwhile city police tweeted that the situation was “under control”, adding that personnel had fired live ammunition to disperse the crowd only after using tear gas and batons first.
The deaths were confirmed by the home minister of Karnataka state of which Bangalore is the capital.
The violence started after protesters massed outside the politician’s house as well as a police station after spotting the post, which local media say has since been deleted.
Murthy also made a video appeal to protesters to stay calm and promised them justice.
I appeal to my Muslim brethren not to fight over someone who has violated the law. Whatever be the matter, we are all brothers. Whoever is responsible we shall ensure that proper punishment is given to those responsible. I am with you.
Hat tip: Robert Stovold