Anatomy of the Bengaluru riots: elaborately planned violence to defenders of the temple

On Tuesday night, Bengaluru riots broke out. Mobs of frenzied Muslims attacked the house of an MLA and two police stations. There was widespread destruction of public and private property and in the resulting violence, 3 rioters were killed in police firing while scores were injured including 60 policemen.

Aftermath of Bengaluru riots
A street with torched vehicles in Bengaluru

The blame of this riot has been placed on a post by Naveen, a Dalit man who is the nephew of Pulkeshinagar Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy. Allegedly, he posted a picture on the social networking site Facebook which hurt the feelings of Muslims. This alleged post quoted from Hadiths and Quran to stress certain facts about Muhammad, specially his marriage to Aisha when she was 6 and he was 51. It must be noted that according to authoritative Islamic sources, the marriage was consummated when Aisha was 9 years old, while Muhammad was 54. The point that could have riled Islamists is that the post allegedly also had a cartoon showing Muhammad with a child Aisha – Islamists consider it forbidden to represent Muhammad in any image.

Was Naveen framed?

On that day when the bhoomi puja was conducted for Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Naveen and his friends burst crackers and distributed sweets in the area which did not go down well with members of the minority community in the area, says his father. Naveen had also reportedly made some posts about the Padarayanapura violence case where on on 19 April an Islamist mob had gone on a rampage assaulting health workers and BBMP officials doing Covid-19 contact tracing. One of the prime accused in that case, Imran, was later arrested from KG Halli (KG Halli police station was targeted by the mob on Tuesday night).

Naveen has told police that his Facebook account was hacked. The circumstantial evidence hints that he was on the radar of Islamists. Whether his account was hacked, or he was provoked to make the post in question, are questions only a thorough probe can answer. But it wouldn’t be the first time a fake Facebook post or a hacked account has been used to trigger Islamist violence against Hindus; here are three examples from 2019, 2016, 2012.

Earlier, there were allegations that the original post on which Naveen commented was a derogatory post on the Hindu Goddess Laxmi. However, that appears to be an older post from June 2018 made by one Basheer Adyar Basheer in Kannada, which was crudely based on famous Kannada bhajan “Bhagyada Laxmi Baramma”, which has been sung by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi among others, and depicts Goddess Laxmi and PM Modi in a very derogatory manner.

This person Basheer Adyar Basheer is a native of Mangaluru, who lives and works in Saudi Arabia. He had made more than one obscene post in June 2018 – on Goddess Laxmi, PM Modi, and Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Interestingly, Karnataka police took suo motu note but registered a case under IPC Sections 153(a) and 505(2) only for the post derogating Shivaji Maharaj; remember, the state was then under Congress rule.

There is no clarity on what further action was taken on Basheer. Has he been arrested in Saudi, or deported to Bharat? Has his family been questioned? Let’s not forget that Saudi Arabia has jailed Hindu youth Vishnu Dev for 10 years for a mere twitter argument in which a Muslim woman first provoked him by abusing Bhagwan Shiva, to which Vishnu responded by asking ‘if Prophet Muhammad was merciful, why were schools in Yemen bombed?’

Target on the back of Naveen and the rioting

The Muslim psyche has already been primed for hate against Hindus by their leaders in last few years. The decision in Ram Janmbhumi case and the recent bhumi poojan have also provided occasion to peddle the Islamist propaganda. We have seen how many ordinary Muslims and their leaders have vowed to destroy Ram Temple and establish Babri Masjid there in future.

It is alleged that many leaders of Islamic extremist political party SDPI, which is an arm of Popular Front of India/PFI were involved in this whole carnage and have been arrested.

The screenshot of P. Naveen’s photo comment gave such Muslims an occasion to vent out their anger. Calls were sent out to Muslims to gather at the MLA’s house, and two police stations of KG Halli and DJ Halli. It helped that the area is dominated by Muslims.

bengaluru riots in DJ halli and KG Halli

The house of the MLA was completely destroyed and then torched. The police stations were surrounded and left with no option, the police had to open fire.

It is to be noted that an FIR has been filed against P Naveen, but no report of such FIR against original provocation by Basheer has been seen.

Naveen, in the meanwhile has a target painted on his back. It must be remembered that Kamlesh Tiwari in UP had spent almost one year in jail for his alleged comments on Muhammad, but that was not enough for Islamic fundamentalists who brutally killed him in October 2019 at his own home. This was after he had been provided security. Similar fate is very much possible for Naveen and govt should make all efforts to ensure his security.

The video shoot

The story does not end here. It was probably thought that video evidence of vandalism, rioting and violence by Muslims will create a negative perception. Some clever fellow found a quick solution. They started shooting a video  of some Muslims holding hands forming a human chain. It was spread like wildfire in media with the caption that these are Muslims trying to save a Hindu temple from rioters. A few questions are in order:-

  • Who exactly were the Muslims protecting it from?
  • How is a human chain supposed to protect a temple from armed rioters?
  • In this act of protection, how many injuries did they sustain?

If the answer to these questions does not clarify this for our readers, maybe this video clip will. Please note the words near the end of the clip : “Upload kar jaldi!” i.e. “Upload it fast!” by some unknown person.

Conclusion

The media coverage is focused on two things : the comment by P. Naveen and the human chain by Muslim youths. However, other aspects of this whole saga need to be reported on. It should be investigated if this is a planned riot. Many commentators have rightly pointed out that it is difficult to gather so many people armed with deadly weapons at a short notice.

The regulation of social media is another issue that needs to be discussed. The need of Bharat based social media companies is also felt in this regard. It is to be noted that Russia and China have their own large social media companies and Bharat despite having a huge user base and talent pool, does not have a single one. A Bharat based social media company would be in sync with Bharatiya laws and help the government in investigation of such cases.

The security of P. Naveen should be ensured. There is no doubt that sooner or later Islamists will try to assassinate him, just like they killed Kamlesh Tiwari.

The government of Karnataka has taken the wise decision to recover the value of property from rioters, as HinduPost had suggested yesterday and as directed by Supreme Court in such cases. What action is taken against likes of Basheer Adyar Basheer who abuse Hindu deities day in & out on social media remains to be seen.

Update

14 Aug, 3 PM: We had earlier reported the accusation that Naveen had responded to a Facebook post derogating Goddess Laxmi – however that was an older post from 2018. Naveen has told police that his FB account was hacked, and his father has alluded that his son is being targeted because he celebrated in public on Ram Mandir Bhoomi Puja day. The story has been updated accordingly.


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About the Author

Pawan Pandey
Pawan Pandey is an Educator based in Dehradun, currently working as Senior Staff Writer with HinduPost. He is an Engineer by training and a teacher by passion. He teaches for Civil Service Exams as well as for Common Law Admission Test. He has deep interest in politics, economy, culture and all things Bharatiya. He fancies himself to be a loving husband and doting father. His weakness is Bharatiya food, particularly sweets. His hobbies include reading, writing and listening to Bharatiya music.