Among the throng of Congress supporters protesting in Bengaluru over rising fuel prices in the country, one face stood out - that of Mohammed Nalapad, son of Congress MLA NA Haris. Nalapad is currently out on bail after he was charged with assaulting a man in an uptown cafe in the city.
Standing next to his father NA Haris and sporting the Congress shawl, Nalapad participated in the Bharat bandh protests called by the party on Monday. His participation in the protest comes less than seven months after he was expelled from the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) for a period of six years. This after he was accused of assaulting a man in an uptown cafe on February 17. Several Congress leaders condemned the incident at the time.
When contacted by TNM, Nalapad Harris declined to comment on whether he was officially working for the party again. "I have no official comments about this," he said.
He was given conditional bail on June 15, 115 days after he was arrested.
The chargesheet filed by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) further revealed that Nalapad initiated the attack and provoked his aides with the intention of murdering Vidvat, the son of a businessman.
The chargesheet which contained 28 witness statements confirmed that the clash took place when Nalapad's leg touched Vidvat's leg, which was covered in plaster of paris, as he was nursing an injury.
Reacting to the incident, then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said that "offenders should be punished no matter who they are". His statements were supported by a number of senior Congress leaders in the state including Deputy Chief Minister and G Parameshwara and KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao.
The opposition BJP has reacted sharply to the incident. "Look at the Congress party’s moral bankruptcy that this lyncher Mohammed Nalapad is their youth icon who leads the Bharat Bandh protest. It’s Sajjan Kumar in Delhi & Mohammed Harris Nalapad in Bengaluru. If I may recollect, wasn’t he suspended for 6 years from the Congress party? Let me remind Mr. Dinesh Gundu Rao that Nalapad is only out on conditional bail, that too after several rejected applications. The law will catch up with him soon,” said BJP spokesperson Malavika Avinash in a statement.
But it appears that in spite of the widespread condemnation in the wake of the incident, Nalapad appears to be back in the Congress party fold. His face has also appeared in promotional material pasted on the vehicles used by NA Haris’ supporters.