Shivakumar, Bommai trade charges over D.J. Halli riots


Home Ministry’s ‘failure’ led to rioting, says Congress leader; Minister hits back

While the death toll in the riots at D.J. Halli in east Bengaluru rose to four on Saturday, with the death of 24-year-old Sayyad Nadeem, political leaders continued to spar over what led the violence late on Tuesday night.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar on Saturday hit back at Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who had said that the rioting had its roots in “internal fight” of the Congress and animosity with the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in the area.

“If there is an internal fight, it is in the BJP and not in the Congress,” he said. On the contrary, it was the Home Ministry’s “total failure” that had led to the rioting, resulting in three deaths in police firing, he added. Mr. Shivakumar accused the government of constantly making an effort to give a “caste and communal colour” to the incident.

After unfurling the tricolour at the party office here, Mr. Shivakumar questioned Mr. Bommai’s authority to make comments on the Congress. By serving notices to Congress councilors, the BJP government has been creating a sense of fear among party workers, he said, adding that it amounted to “blackmail”. He alleged that MLA R. Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy, whose house was gutted in the violence, w as being pressured to issue certain kind of statements.

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‘As per law’

Responding to this at Haveri, Mr. Bommai sought to know if Mr. Shivakumar knew the law of the land. “As per law, notices are issued to those identified as involved in the riots. If he has not committed any wrong, then why should he be afraid? There is no question of blackmail. As per law, it is natural to issue notices to those who found to have been involved in a case,” he said.

Mr. Bommai reiterated that the State government was contemplating recovering damages caused to public properties during riots by those involved in them and if they failed to pay, then their properties would be seized.

On whether the government would follow the Uttar Pradesh model on recovering damages, Mr. Bommai said the Supreme Court had issued guidelines on it and they would be followed.

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Sagar Biswas

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