The violence in Bengaluru on August 12 last year in which Dalit Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy’s house and two police stations were torched was a larger conspiracy by the Social Democratic Party of India to create communal disharmony in the country, the NIA said in its charge sheet filed recently in a special court in Bengaluru.

The central agency has named Fairoz Pasha, a former Congress leader who later joined AAP, as one of the main conspirators in its chargesheet which runs into 7,000 pages. The NIA chargesheet, filed under sections 16, 18 and 20 of the UAPA Act and various sections of the IPC, names 247 people for conspiracy, destruction of public property and terrorism. Of these, 47 belong to the SDPI and extremist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI). In all, 109 people have been named in connection with the violence at D.J. Halli police station while 138 have been charged for K.G. Halli police station violence.

The NIA said that the riots were not spontaneous but a planned conspiracy by Fairoz Pasha and his co-conspirators ‘who were unhappy with the central government’s stance on CAA, NRC and the ending of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir’s special status’. The accused were allegedly looking for an opportunity to create unrest and the social media post of the nephew of Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy provided them with that opportunity.

“The SDPI in Bengaluru was unhappy with the decision of the central government on certain matters i.e repeal of Article 370, issue of CAA/NRC, Supreme Court verdict on Babri Masjid case, Triple Talaq etc. The SDPI members actively participated in agitation against the government on these issues. They were waiting for an opportunity to create communal disharmony and thereby create unrest in the country,” the chargesheet said.

Detailing the conspiracy, the investigative agency said that Pasha was a trained social media activist. He joined AAP in April 2020 and soon after started working for SDPI. In fact, after he posted derogatory comments on his Facebook page on Janmashtami against Hindu gods, Murthy’s nephew Naveen had reacted to the post with derogatory remarks against the Prophet. As part of the conspiracy, Naveen’s comments were shared on various WhatsApp groups, mobilising SDPI and PFI members to gather outside the MLA’s residence and unleash violence, the chargesheet stated.

The NIA investigation found that the attack on DG Halli and KG Halli police station, damage to vehicles including a fire engine and the attack on the MLA’s house were all part of this conspiracy.

The Bengaluru court has taken cognisance of the chargesheet. The NIA had in December arrested 17 accused belonging to the SDPI, PFI in connection with the rioting and violent attacks on DJ Halli and KG Halli police stations in Bengaluru. 

Four people were killed in the violence including three in police firing and one due to abdominal injuries while many vehicles and shops were torched and damaged inside and outside the police stations. The city police, which too is probing the case simultaneously, has accused the former Congress Mayor R Sampath Raj, who is a corporator of DJ Halli ward, of being part of the conspiracy to politically finish off his own party’s MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy.

Sampath remained absconding for many weeks before he was finally caught. He is now out on bail.

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