Days after the violence in Karnataka's Mangaluru during protests over the new citizenship law that left two people dead, police in the coastal city have released a series of videos and photos of what it claims are from the clashes. The videos show protesters bringing stones in an auto-trolley, throwing stones and trying to destroy the CCTV cameras.
The BJP government in Karnataka has been facing criticism after police firing in Mangaluru last Thursday killed two people during protests. 20 policemen were injured in the clashes. The police response has drawn criticism from opposition leaders in the state.
One of the videos shows protesters, with their faces covered with handkerchiefs, throwing stones, with fire in the backdrop. Another clip shows a man trying to break a CCTV camera with a bamboo pole.
"We are posting a few of photographs of these rioters for identification and information about their whereabouts," Mangaluru Police wrote on Facebook on Monday. The police thanked "citizens of Mangaluru" for sharing the images and videos.
"There are videos taken by mediapersons and captured in the CCTV cameras, which show how large scale stone-throwing had taken place (in Mangaluru),"Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, praising the police for showing 'restraint' in the face of extreme violence and slammed opposition leaders for calling the 'notorious people' innocent.
"In a systematic manner, people had covered their face, destroyed the CCTV cameras and carried out arson and looting in an organised way. They also indulged in stone pelting and used petrol bomb," Mr Bommai told reporters.
Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao was quoted as saying by news agency PTI: "The protesters had no choice but to cover their faces as police lobbed tear gases."
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday said the state government has decided to conduct a magisterial inquiry into the violent protests.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the first time makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India before 2015 because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.