Violence grips Bengaluru over a Facebook post, report local media

BENGALURU, Aug 12 — Violent protests gripped parts of the southern Indian city of Bengaluru late yesterday after thousands took to the streets over a provocative social media post about the Prophet Muhammad by a relative of a local politician, local media reported.

Two people were dead and three injured after police opened fire, according to a regional news channel. Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the deaths or the number of injuries.

“The situation is under control,” Bengaluru City Police said on Twitter, adding that police fired live ammunition to disperse the crowd after using tear gas and batons.

TV channels showed group of people gathered outside a police station and clashing with officers, burning several police vehicles. The videos showed the group later trying to force its way into the police station, and another group gathering outside the politician’s house shouting slogans, throwing stones, and setting fire to vehicles parked along the road.

Protesters blocked fire engines and some media personnel were allegedly attacked, according to reports.

“Accused Naveen arrested for posting derogatory posts”, Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said in a tweet, adding that a 110 people had been arrested for arson, stone throwing and assault on police. Several police officers were injured, he told TV reporters.

A curfew was imposed in the surrounding area to restrict movement, police said.

“We are investigating the issue and will make use of the CCTV footages to see who is behind these violent acts, and will take stringent actions,” Karnataka state Home Minister Basavraj Bommai told a local TV news channel.

Meanwhile, R. Ashoka, a state minister, told the same news channel that attacks on police and media would not be tolerated.

“What kind of people attack the police? The media? The local police have been given a free hand to deal with the situation,” he said. — Reuters

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