Bengaluru Riots: Charging Our Leaders Motivated, Says Congress. BJP Denies This

The residence of Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy was set afire, along with two police stations and several vehicles.

It is politically motivated, says Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar.

Bengaluru:

As the investigation into the August violence in Bengaluru progresses, the alleged involvement of some Congress party members is increasingly coming into focus.

Four people died due to the riots allegedly sparked by a social media post viewed as offensive to Muslims. The residence of Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy was set afire, along with two police stations and several vehicles. The Facebook post was reportedly made by Mr Murthy's nephew.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has blamed the Congress and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) workers for the violence. It cited the Congress's internal rivalry, saying some of its leaders were looking to settle scores with Murthy.

Some Congressmen, including corporators Sampath Raj and Zakir Hussain, have been charged in the case by the Central Crime Branch. Two party MLAs, Rizwan Arshad and Zameer Ahmed Khan, have been questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The party itself has, however, denied any involvement.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President, D K Shivakumar, today said the charge sheet was politically motivated, timed just ahead of the upcoming state bypolls.  

"Whatever Congress names have been named in the charge sheet are all false, bogus. It is politically motivated. None of the Congressmen were involved," Mr Shivakumar told the media.

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Referring to what he claimed were appeals made by Congress leaders to stop the violence, Mr Shivakumar said, "The authorities requested our MLAs…to help them and they have named our leaders (in the charge sheet)."

In the meantime, Mr Murthy, whose residence was attacked, has sought action against party colleagues who he believes were responsible. However, the state Congress President has refused to make any such move.

"It is internal political squabbling…We are not going to take action on anyone," Mr Shivakumar said.

On his part, Karnataka Deputy Chief minister, Ashwath Narayan, denied any political motivation in probing Congress leaders.

"Akhanda Srinivas Murthy - his own party colleagues took this opportunity to finish him (off) politically. That is the allegation he has been making. The department is looking into the investigation and the truth will come out in a matter of time. The NIA is doing its work without any vested interests," Mr Narayan told NDTV.