On the night of August 11, 2020, a mob attacked two police stations and set fire to nearby vehicles. The incident happened in the eastern part of the Bangalore city of Karnataka, India, The clashes between the police and agitators commenced around the residence of a state legislator of the Indian National Congress, Akhanda Srinivas Murthy. The clashes later spread to the police stations of DJ Halli and KG Halli. The crowds, seemingly composed of Muslims, were triggered by an alleged blasphemous and inflammatory Facebook post against Prophet Muhammad, shared by the legislator’s nephew. The derogatory remarks against Muhammad went viral and people accumulated in front of the legislator’s house to demand arrest of the accused. The crowd had arrived to protest and it turned violent when the police tried to move them. Some of the legislator’s properties were also torched in the violence.
According to the police, at around 8 pm, small groups of protestors gathered near the DJ Halli police station, demanding to file a complaint against those responsible for the post. As the police showed reluctance in filing the complaint, the crowd was agitated.
The group of around 20 people who protested before the legislator’s house soon grew to 200 where people came with sticks, stones etc. The mob vandalized the residence and set some property on fire. The DJ Halli police tried to defuse the situation but as one of the teams, returned without arresting the accused, the mob forcefully entered the police station, vandalized it and put police vans on fire. The violence grew along with the mob and when the Bangalore Police Commissioner arrived, the situation was out of control.
In an attempt to prevent a communal riot, a group of Muslim youth formed a human chain to protect a Hindu temple near DJ Halli station from being attacked and stayed there from 11 pm to 12:30 am. Finally, the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) had to be called to disperse the crowd. The KSRP lathi-charged fired tear gas and eventually fired live rounds at the mob. The police firing resulted in the death of 3 people and 30 to 80 policemen were injured. Around 206 people were arrested on August 12.
Surprisingly, not many national media covered this Bangalore violence in details and luckily for us, it didn’t turn into a communal riot. A large portion of the political leaders was silent on this incident. The deafening silence of the intellectual community exposed the pseudo-liberals and the pseudo-seculars. A large portion of the Twitterati was seen blaming the Islamic community and trying to give a communal angle to this violence. Though the silence of the intellectuals helped maintain the balance between reality and online allegations against a community, the essential work of liberals and seculars is to uphold peace irrespective of religion.
Secularity and liberalism have been used as a layer to sugar coat communal feelings and these people, in the process, degrade the morality and ideology of those who are actually secular and liberal and who have condemned the violence.
Let’s hope we don’t face any such situation in the future.