Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said the violence during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the communally-sensitive Mangaluru was “pre-planned” and that people from neighbouring Kerala were also involved.
Bommai’s comments came hours after the Mangaluru police, which is facing inquiry after it opened fire killing two people last week, released videos of rioting in the port city.
“There are visuals on how stones were pelted in a big way, how people covered their faces and sabotaged CCTV cameras, how there was an organized looting, how bricks meant for construction were used, how petrol bombs were also used...everyone has seen the videos,” Bommai said. “Can anyone call them innocents? It was an organized plan to create violence.”
On December 19, Jaleel and Nausheen were killed after the police opened fire during violent protests against the CAA. Karnataka has ordered a magisterial inquiry by Udupi deputy commissioner G Jagdish. Plus, the government has also ordered a probe by the Criminal Investigation Department. “The Udupi DC has been given magisterial powers. He will inquire into all aspects - what happened that day, what led to the Golibar and so on. It’ll be a comprehensive probe,” Bommai said.
“From the beginning, the Opposition incited (people)...there was a pre-planned pressure created by backing the (so-called) innocents. Politicians from Kerala came, but whom did they want to protect? The probe will reveal everything,” Bommai said. “There were people who came from Kerala 2-3 before the protests. All this will come out in the probe.”
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah has attacked the ruling BJP for opening fire at protestors, saying the police could have used alternatives such as water cannons or rubber bullets. “The government hasn’t given clean chit to anyone. But Siddaramaiah has decided to support those who pelted stones and lit fires. He has given a clean chit to notorious people,” Bommai said.
The Congress, meanwhile, is still demanding a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge. “Whoever is responsible for violence needs to be punished, but the loss of life isn’t a small thing,” former Congress minister UT Khader said.
“There seems to be a conspiracy within the BJP to bring a bad name to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. Both CM and Home Minister say they didn’t order firing. Then who did? Isn’t the police under the government’s control? That’s why we’re pressing for a judicial inquiry,” Khader said, adding that a CID probe might not be fair.