The accused have alleged that they were meted out inhuman treatment after they were arrested.

The commandos and police officials at a site where violence broke out in BengaluruRepresentative Image/ PTI
news Crime Friday, June 18, 2021 - 21:55

A day after they were released on bail, on June 18, the accused in the Bengaluru violence case alleged that they were harassed in the police custody. The accused - Syyed Masood, Muzamil Pasha, Sameeruddin, Mohammed Sirajuddin and Syyed – told the press in Bengaluru that they were all arrested under false pretext and later labelled as ‘terrorists’ due to vendetta. The accused claimed that they were falsely accused to halt the social services they had been doing in the KG Halli and DJ Halli areas, where the violence broke out on August 11, 2020.

On August 11, 2020, a mob of men in DJ Halli and KG Halli gathered in protest against a Facebook post termed derogatory to Muslims. The post was made by Naveen P, nephew of Congress legislator R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy. The mob was infuriated after police sought time to take action against him, after which police stations in DJ Halli and KG Halli as well as the MLA's residence in Kaval Byrasandra were attacked.

The Karnataka High Court on June 17 had granted bail to 115 accused in the Bengaluru violence case, under the provision of “default” bail awarded in lieu of not filing charge sheet within the prescribed time frame. According to a report in The Hindu, Justice S Vishwajith Shetty passed the bail order while allowing petitions filed by Muzamil Pasha and 114 others, who were arrested on August 12, 2020. The court found fault with the Special Court for National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) order granting 90 more days for the agency to complete the investigation without hearing the accused-petitioners. NIA had filed an application seeking an extension to extend the period to file the charge sheet.

Syed Masood, an accused in the case, recounted the incidents that occurred on the night of August 11, 2020. He said that they had gone to the DJ Halli police station to file a complaint against Naveen over his post criticising Prophet Mohammed. However, the enraged mob, he alleged, resorted to violence in spite of their efforts to pacify them. He said, “We are not aware of how things escalated. We were thrashed by the mob while we tried to save the DJ Halli police station. We were told that we will be sent back home with security but were stealthily arrested. We were labelled anti-nationals, threatened and made to drink bathroom water at Kothanur Police station where we were lodged after our arrest.”

Another accused in the case, Sameeruddin, said, “I was called for interrogation but later detained for 10 months. I was lodged in jail although I was not involved in the violence, I was labelled as a terrorist which has created a problem for my family as they were shunned.” He added that CCB had falsely accused him of receiving funds from foreign agencies from Pakistan. He also alleged that the NIA and CCB were targeting the Social Democratic Party of India, under which the accused were involved in social work. Sirajuddin said that the false accusations were a way to stop them from doing social work in the locality.

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