A 17-year-old juvenile, arrested in connection with the riots in Bengaluru on August 11, 2020, was released on bail on February 26, after spending nearly six months in the central prison despite rules stating that those under the age of 18 should be under the charge of a juvenile police unit and not be in a police lockup or in jail.
Multiple enquires have now established that the juvenile was under the age of 18 on August 11, 2020, the day of the riots in DJ Halli and KG Halli in Bengaluru. The juvenile spent six months in the Bengaluru central prison locked up with hardened criminals until the Karnataka High Court passed orders on February 9 to shift him to an observation home under the Juvenile Justice Board. The High Court's orders came after a petition was filed in the Karnataka High Court in November 2020.
The juvenile was eventually granted bail by the Juvenile Justice Board on February 26.
The High Court directed a jurisdictional court to conduct an enquiry into the age of the arrested person in which his parents and family members were subjected to cross-examination. The public prosecutor Govindan argued that his age was above 18 based on a radiology report by Bowring Hospital in Bengaluru.
â€‹Alongside this, in a separate hearing in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court, the juvenile's age was rechecked and a report was sent to the High Court. The High Court eventually passed orders based on the jurisdictional court and NIA special court's reports stating that his age was below 18 when the incident occurred.
The mother of the juvenile said she had repeatedly approached the DJ Halli police station and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) office in Domlur with documents to prove that her child was under the age of 18 during the riots. She said that her child had stepped out when news of a fight near the police station broke out. She added that her child was detained by the police later the same night.
While the police earlier said the juvenile was identified in CCTV footage of the riots, they later said that they were informed about his presence near the DJ Halli police station during the riots.
The juvenile's lawyer, Basawa Kunale, told TNM that 10 other juveniles arrested in connection with the same case were granted bail in October 2020.
Violent mob attacks were reported in DJ Halli and KG Halli in Bengaluru on the night of August 11. The mob attacks took place after local residents gathered in protest against a Facebook post that was deemed derogatory by Muslims. The post was by Naveen P, the nephew of Pulakeshinagar Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy. The mob was angered after the police took time to take action over the complaint made against Naveen's post and launched violent attacks on two police stations - in DJ Halli and KG Halli - and the MLA's residence in Kaval Byrasandra.
The attacks which began at 9.30 pm on August 11 ended in the early hours of August 12 after police opened fire against the mob, leading to the deaths of three people.
Muzzammil Pasha, an SDPI leader from Bengaluru, had approached the DJ Halli police station with a complaint against Naveen at 7.45 pm on August 11.
He is now among the people arrested in connection with the violence while many have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Former Bengaluru mayor Sampath Raj has also been named as an accused person in the chargesheet in the case framed by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) while the chargesheet by the NIA states that it was a deliberate act planned by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). NIA's chargesheet accuses 247 people of instigating the riots.