Bengaluru: 'Not communal violence'
It was not premeditated or pre-planned, says fact-finding panel report
Bengaluru: A fact-finding committee report on the violence that ensued on the night of August 11 titled 'Communalising Violence in DJ Halli' was released on Wednesday in the presence of (Retd.) Justice Nagamohan Das.
The fact-finding committee in its report has stated that there is no substantial evidence to suggest that the mob violence was communal in nature. "The Hindu community was not specifically targetted. It was premeditated and pre-planned."
The team also said that several Hindu families whose houses were vandalised shared that it was the local Muslim families who also helped protect their property. On the facebook post by Naveen the report said that the post crossed the constitutional protection encompassing free-speech, and amounts to hate speech against the Muslim community.
"Despite the fact that it was clearly meant to incite, his intent and motive in publishing the post has not been sufficiently probed either by the police or even addressed by the media, which have instead chosen to focus largely on the violence which is more visible and Sensational. The role of the mob, in perpetrating the violence, whether on the D.J. Halli and K.G. Halli police stations or on public and private property including the houses of Naveen and Akhanda Sreenivas Murthy, are undeniable and unjustifiable," the report read.
However, the fact finding committee concluded that not only did the police fail to act expeditiously and effectively on the post when small delegations approached the police station, but they also failed to intervene in effective ways in preventing the violence from escalating in D.J. Halli, K.G. Halli and Kaval Byrasandra.
"The perceived delay in lodging the FIR, failure to assure firm legal action and the perception that this was due to the MLA's intervention cannot be turned a blind eye to. The police ought to have taken more proactive measures to prevent the crowd from gathering, including urgently bringing in additional reinforcements that would have helped to disperse the mob before it spiralled out of control. There was an intelligence failure in the State machinery's reaction to the incident, the police are responsible for a delayed response in registering the FIR against Naveen, which resulted in a discontent crowd swelling at the stations," the committee reported.
It is also highlighted in the report that the imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 was a ubiquitous punishment to those in the areas, who were met with verbal and physical abuse when they attempted to leave their homes. Several arbitrary arrests were carried out in the middle of the night, that has created an atmosphere of fear in the areas.
"The families of those arrested have not been informed of the arrest or whereabouts of their loved ones. Several requirements of providing information of the arrest to a nominated person, or preparation of an arrest memo, have not been followed, leading to a violation of the rights of the accused. The unwarranted invocation of the UAPA in the present case evidences its misuse and abuse to further a communal narrative against the Muslim community, and target the SDPI," the report found.
The committee has also stressed in the report that organisations like RSS and Bajrang Dal, have been trying to divide the communities on religious lines, and, post the violence are trying to give the riot a communal colour and deepen the sense of victimisation among the Hindu community.
"Teams from the RSS/BJP have come to the area and are apparently attempting to speak only to the Hindu households impacted to help them get legal help and compensation. The growing presence and influence of RSS in Dalit pockets of these areas is indicative of its political intent of polarising the region on communal lines," it said.
Justice (RETD) Nagmohan Das responded that as far as recovering damage is concerned, it is an evolving law in India. In respect of those falsely
arrested, he mentioned that the courts have passed judgments asking governments to pay compensation for police atrocities, subsequent to this, officers involved in the atrocities are made to undergo disciplinary proceedings. Thereafter, the amount is recovered from the erring officers. "There are court precedents and it is a developing law in the country to compensate innocent persons," he said
To inquire into the DJ Halli violence and its aftermath, a twenty-four-member team comprising researchers, civil society activists, human rights organisations, and advocates visited Devarajeevanahalli, Kadugondanahalli and Kaval Byrasandra from August 20 – September 1.