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DJ Halli riots: We were called to help cops, MLAs tell NIA

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The two Congress MLAs — BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan and Rizwan Arshad —  who appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) this week in relation to the DJ Halli and KG Halli violence cases, reportedly told the Central counter terror agency that they went to DJ Halli after they were called by some senior City police officers to control the crowd.

Arshad from Shivajinagar constituency told The New Indian Express that he was summoned by the NIA and had appeared before it on October 13. “The NIA wanted to know why we had gone to DJ Halli during the arson on August 11. I told them that I was called by some senior police officers to help them control the mob. When I reached DJ Halli police station at around 10.30pm, the situation had already gone out of control and it was not possible to calm down the mob. I told the NIA that  the crowd was in fact upset with us because they thought that we had come to support the police,” said Arshad.

“The absence of an effective public address system had made it even more difficult for us to reach out to the mob. I stayed there for over two hours and left under police protection. This is what I told the NIA,” he added.

He said that the agency had not asked him to appear again.Zameer Ahmed Khan from Chamarajanagar constituency, who had deposed before the NIA on October 14, told this newspaper that the agency wanted to know if they suspected someone’s involvement in the arson and whether they thought it was pre-planned. “I told the NIA that it didn’t look like staged violence. It was because of police failure to take timely action against the accused, who was behind posting the blasphemous content on his social media post, that the mob went violent,” said Khan.

The NIA had arrested Sayed Saddiq Ali (44) in connection with the large-scale violence that had claimed three lives in police firing, injured more than 60 police personnel and some media persons. Besides, there was extensive damage to the DJ Halli police station, other public and private properties including the residence of Congress MLA from Pulakeshinagar constituency Akhand Srinivasamurthy.

Besides the NIA, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of Bengaluru City police is also probing the case and has submitted a preliminary chargesheet in a city court against former Congress mayor R Sampath Raj and a sitting Congress corporator Abdul Rakeeb Zakir as accused.At around 8.30pm on August 11, an over 3,000 strong mob went on the  rampage in DJ Halli and KG Halli police station limits in East Bengaluru in protest against a blasphemous social media post,  allegedly put out by Srinivasamurthy’s nephew Navin. He was arrested the same day.

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