On December 23 2019, Mangaluru City Police released a CCTV video of a tempo filled with stones. The police said that this was proof to show that the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the city was planned in advance and protesters had arranged for stones.
Two weeks on, former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday, released CCTV videos showing that the same tempo highlighted by the police made four trips on the same day and was carrying cement bags and other construction debris.
"The Mangaluru City Police appealed to the police to send videos and released a video of a small clip which showed a tempo with stones in it. It was projected to make it look like protesters were ready with stones before the protest. That is Amit Shah and his team, the BJP government. We are telling the public the truth," Kumaraswamy said while releasing the videos in Bengaluru.
CCTV videos of the same tempo making at least four trips throughout the day - at 10:24 am, 12: 10 pm, 1:14 pm and 3:10 pm - carrying debris was shown in the videos released by Kumaraswamy. An interview of the tempo driver was also released in which he says that he parked the tempo on the side of a road when the commotion began at 4:45 pm. This, he says, is what is shown in the video shared by the Mangaluru police. The driver added that when he went back to the spot to check on the tempo, he found two gunny bags were on the ground but the rest of the load was intact.
In all, Kumaraswamy released a series of 35 videos taken during the anti-CAA protests in Mangaluru. He said that the videos showed that police officials in Mangaluru harassed by-standers and students without provocation.
He stated that the police's violent crackdown on protesters and bystanders was a factor in the stone-pelting incidents reported during the protests and the subsequent police firing that took the lives of two people. "There were protests held across the state on that day but only in Mangaluru, the protests turned violent. We want people to understand the truth of what happend," Kumaraswamy said.
The videos released showed the police rounding up a journalist and detaining him, rounding up bystanders and students waiting for a bus and assaulting them. Other videos showed the police pelting stones at a mosque and pelting stones at protesters. The oft-replayed video of the police shooting at protesters at a distance was also included in the set of videos.
In the aftermath of the protests and the subsequent police firing, Mangaluru City Police appealed to citizens in the city to send videos of the protests which took place. The city police's official Facebook page released videos showing violent protests and incidents of stone pelting in an attempt to justify its decision to open fire against the protesters. The police, however, was mum about the use of teargas near the ICU of Highland Hospital and about why the police opened fire at protesters standing at a distance.
Kumaraswamy called for a Legislature House committee be set up to probe the incident and also called for police officials including the Mangaluru police commissioner to be suspended.