Police label Bengaluru violence a terror act, invoke UAPA

On alert: RAF personnel taking out a flag march in the riot-hit DJ Halli on Thursday. V. Sreenivasa Murthy   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

The State government has decided to go hard on rioters in D.J. Halli where three persons were killed in police firing last week. The police have now defined the violence as a terror act and invoked the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, while the State government has decided to make the culprits pay for damage to public and private property.

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the city police, which had been tasked with probing the conspiracy behind the violence on the fateful night, have added sections of UAPA to two related FIRs on Monday. “What the accused have done in D.J. Halli, clearly comes under the definition of Section 15 of UAPA, 1967, that defines a terror act. So, we have decided to invoke those sections,” a senior police officer said. Conviction under UAPA will likely attract a life sentence.

The city police’s move has triggered speculation that the State government may hand over the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Senior police officials refused to comment.

Ban sought

The police adding sections of UAPA, 1967, to the riot-related FIRs comes a day after Arvind Limbavali, who led BJP’s fact-finding committee to D.J. Halli on Sunday, appealed for investigation by NIA that can only probe terror cases. “It has come to light that an organisation like Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), which has its operations in multiple States, is involved. It’s a matter of national security,” Mr. Limbavali had reasoned while arguing for an NIA probe. The BJP and the State government have expressed intent to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI) and SDPI.

At a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Monday, the State government has decided to make those accused of rioting pay for the damage to property. It was decided to approach Karnataka High Court for appointment of a claim commissioner, as per the order of the Supreme Court, for the purpose of assessment of damage caused to public and private property and its recovery.

There had been demand from the BJP on the State government to follow the Uttar Pradesh model and make rioters pay for damage. However, efforts by the U.P. government has run into legal hurdles.

The government has also decided to form a special team of three public prosecutors to help the police. There are nearly 60 FIRs registered in connection with the violence last week.

Being the first-ever review meeting after the D.J. Halli riots last week, Mr. Yediyurappa not only took stock of the situation, but also reviewed the incident and the police response, sources said. He was happy that the situation was controlled within a few hours and contained from geographically spreading, sources said. The meeting also reviewed the case against the PFI and the SDPI and whether a ban can be recommended.

The city police are also considering booking the main accused in the riots case under Goonda Act, which will ensure they stay in prison for a year without bail. They have already opened rowdy sheets against 70 arrested.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 7:50:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/police-label-dj-halli-violence-a-terror-act-invoke-uapa/article32378783.ece

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