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Situation Calm in Northeast Bengaluru, Tense on Social Media, BJP ‘Attempts to Communalize Issue’

BENGALURU, AUGUST 13—All shops and establishments are shut in DJ Halli, KG Halli and Kaval Byrasandra on the second day of curfew imposed till 6 am on August 15, following Tuesday night’s riots. Sporadic movements of vehicles were seen in curfew-imposed areas as residents went out to nearby areas to attend to their chores.

“Just a fortnight back lockdown is lifted and again we are in a lockdown like situation,” said a shop keeper in Kaval Byrsandra sitting outside his closed grocery shop.

The DJ Halli police station limits is densely populated by the auto and taxi drivers from the city. Jeeps, commercial service trucks or tempos, autos and cars used to dot the road, which are now charred.

By and large the situation remained calm on the ground. However, throughout Wednesday, several state and national leaders from the BJP turned their ire towards Muslims and blamed them squarely for the incident. They took to micro blogging site, Twitter, to attack Muslims and the Congress and trended “congresssupportsriots”.

None of the BJP leaders found to be condemning the derogatory FB post against the Prophet or demanding action against the accused. There was a distinct difference between the tweets of the leaders from the two national parties. While the Congress leaders demanded punishment for the accused and the rioters both, the BJP leaders aimed their tweets targeting Muslims alone for the incident, without even a mention to the FB post or the accused.

Former Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah of the Congress, tweeted:

“Few people are trying to portray my statement, that said both Hindus & Muslims should strive to maintain peace, as anti-hindu. Muslim leaders should stop Muslim rioters & Hindu leaders should teach Hindus like Naveen from posting hatred messages. What is wrong in that ?”

Sunil Deodhar, BJP national secretary and in-charge of Tripura and Andhra Pradesh, termed the tweet from Siddaramaiah as “Muslim appeasement” and questioned:

“See the level of appeasement. Karnataka Ex-CM & INC leader calls one-sided vandalism as communal riots. On criticism, he tags leaders by religion.

So, how do you identify yourself, @Siddaramaiah Ji – Hindu leader or a Muslim leader?”

Fire brand BJP M.P from Bengaluru South, Tejasvi Surya wrote a letter to the State Chief Minister Yeddiyurappa asking to confiscate property of rioters for asset recovery taking a cue from Yogi Adityanath government of UP. In his letter he claimed, “Hundreds of Muslim rioters belonging to the Muslim community disrupted public order and attacked the residence of a Dalit MLA…”

In another tweet, he attached screen shots from a book explaining reasons behind ‘’Muslims starting riots” and called it “succinct analysis” by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which reads:

“There could be three reasons of why they start riots – one reason may be that our Muslim brethren have concluded that now there is no place for them in India, no guardian for them, so it’s better to die fighting than to live…” The screen shot displays name of the book as “Awakening Bharat Mata” which is written by Swapan Das Gupta, BJP Rajya Sabha M.P. Rest of the two reasons can be read here.

B.L. Santhosh, BJP’s National General Secretary (Organisation), who is touted as chief minister in waiting of Karnataka and Karnataka’s Modi, kept on tweeting throughout Wednesday and today too. In his tweet today afternoon he writes:

“Appeasement & Social justice; appeasement & Public order.. Choice of @INCIndia @INCKarnataka in these is very clear … APPEASEMENT … It has been so for last 72 years. Party only reiterates it’s stand at every corner. #CongressSupportsRiots”

In his earlier tweet on Wednesday he tried to downplay Muslim youths’ efforts in forming human chain to safeguard a temple in DJ Halli as “an ad attempt post engineered violence”.

“This is beauty of India after a Police station was ransacked.. More than 20 vehicles torched. MLAs house gutted. 3 deaths in Police firing. 140 arrests. Is beauty of India an ad attempt post enginneered violence …?

The former Karnataka Congress president responded to Santosh’s tweets calling them ‘’deplorable and attempt to communalize the issue”.

“As usual blsanthosh is using this terrible incident to gain political mileage.

His statement is a crude attempt to communalize the issue & divide on caste lines. Pathetic & Deplorable. That’s what @BJP4India & @RSSorg do best, play politics over/with dead bodies.”

C.T Ravi, Karnataka’s Minister for Tourism and Kannada and Culture, infamous for his controversial statements and one who first mooted the idea of confiscating property of rioters on Wednesday afternoon, outrightly blamed Muslims for the violence and termed it “violent attack by Muslims”.

“Waiting for @INCIndia co-owner @RahulGandhi to comment on the violent attack by Muslims on a Dalit CONgress MLA’s house. Will Rahul Gandhi take up the cause of a Dalit MLA or will he turn blind eye to the atrocities against Dalits?”

Shobha Karandlaje, another controversial BJP MP from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, trained guns at the PFI and SDPI and claimed, “they targeted only Hindu houses”, she tweeted:

“Visited Pulikeshi Nagara assembly constituency today. PFI-SDPI conspired this violence, they targeted only Hindu houses & burnt public properties. I strongly condemn this behaviour of communal elements & urge @CMofKarnataka to take stringent actions against the culprits.”

To her tweet, one Vimal Lokahtia replied, saying:

“BJP has got a Golden Opportunity to divert ppl attention from Rising Corona cases and Gross Mishandling of Pandemic in Bengaluru/ Karnataka. They r definitely going to Misuse and Milch this forever ..May be till 2023 State elections also…”

Amit Malviya, BJP IT Cell national head, replied to a tweet from Congress’ Rao on Wednesday1:28 am

Besides being an apologist for violence, what DGR is saying is that Dalit (Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, whose house has been burnt down is one) lives don’t matter when arsonists are from a particular community. If anarchy is the answer every time, why do we have laws?

Earlier Rao had termed the FB post as a “working of a sick mind” in a tweet posted at 12.02 am on Wednesday.

“What was written about the Prophet is the working of a sick mind with an intention to create violence. It is highly objectionable and such statements about any person revered by any community needs to be handled in the strictest way possible by the authorities.”

Tweets and counter tweets continued throughout Wednesday and today, in which BJP leaders were found heavily engaged in attacking the Muslim community.

In Tuesday night’s violence, three protesters had died in police firing. The deceased have been identified as Sher Siddique, a resident of Puttaswamy Garden, Wasim Pasha and Mohammed Yasin, both residents of S.K Garden, localities of Bengaluru, all were aged between 20-27 years.

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