Karnataka Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, MLA Rizwan along with local leaders visit the residence of MLA Akhanda Srinivasmurthy at Kaval Byrasandra and DJ Halli Police Station, in Bengaluru on Sept 2
Karnataka Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, MLA Rizwan along with local leaders visit the residence of MLA Akhanda Srinivasmurthy at Kaval Byrasandra and DJ Halli Police Station, in Bengaluru on Sept 2

A fact finding report submitted to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa last week claimed that the recent riots in Bengaluru were "pre-planned and organised" and it was "undoubtedly communally motivated."

The report was submitted by Citizens for Democracy, a platform of "responsible citizens" claiming to be committed to democratic values, safety and security of the citizens of India.

The fact finding panel was headed by retired District Judge Srikanth D Babaladi, and had retired IAS officer Madan Gopal, retired IFS officer R Raju among its members. It also had retired bureaucrats, journalists, advocates, professors and social workers.

While the panel itself did not specify that the report was sanctioned by the government, minister CT Ravi said the fact-finding committee was appointed by the state government.

"Fact finding committee appointed by State Government in the Bengaluru Riots case has submitted its report. It was a pre-planned attack having no connection with the alleged Facebook post. Every RIOTER who planned & executed this attack will be punished. No one will be spared," he said in a tweet.

The committee, it turns out, is linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The address of the collective - No. 106, 5th main, Chamarajpete, Bengaluru - mentioned in the report is listed as the address of the office of the Kannada magazine Vikrama Weekly, a publication of the RSS, The News Miniute reported.

Started in 2011, the collective has conducted various seminars, campaigns on topics of national and social importance.

Citizens for Democracy in a statement said the fact finding committee comprising prominent representatives of the society was formed to look into recent violence, as it is imperative to survey the incident neutrally without any bias or vested political interests with a sole commitment towards truth.

The report said the mob during the riots on August 11 night had specifically targeted certain prominent Hindus in the area, and the entire incident qualifies to be a "riot against the state" with the motive of "reducing the faith of common people in the state".

Noting that it is estimated that nearly 36 government vehicles, nearly 300 private vehicles and many houses were destroyed in the violence, the committee has said the damage could be estimated to be nearly Rs 10 to 15 crores.

It could be seen from the FIRs and certain interactions with the victims, that local people were also involved in carrying out this riot, the committee said, "it is of the opinion that the locals were not only involved in execution but were also aware about it in advance."

"Despite attempts being made to project the same as political rivalry, it was undoubtedly communally motivated.

The panel is of the opinion that based on the kind of houses and people targeted, the motive of the riots could also be fear mongering so as to change the demography and turn the area into a Muslim majority one," it said.

It was also of the view that SDPI and PFI were involved in planning and execution of this incident.

The pattern of the riots, the report said, is similar to that of Delhi and Sweden and therefore it is imperative for the state to investigate the incident holistically and not consider them to be isolated and local.

Funding received by individuals and religious extremist organisations should be continuously monitored by involving NIA, while potential areas that might face such communal tensions must be identified by the police in advance, it suggested.

Establishing a cyber dome to ensure social media is not used for hate mongering, strengthening of intelligence generation mechanisms, are among the other recommendations made by the committee.

The violence in DJ Halli and adjoining areas on August 11 night was triggered by an inflammatory social media post allegedly put out by P Naveen, a relative of Pulakeshinagar Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy.

The MLAs residence and a police station at D J Halli were torched by rioters who also set many police and private vehicles afire, and looted the belongings of the legislator and his sister.

More than 300 people have been arrested in connection with the violence and investigation is on.

Also retired judge Justice H S Kempanna has been appointed as the "Claim Commissioner" for assessment of damages caused during violence and to recover the costs from the culprits.

All the costs that have been incurred by the state and individuals have to be recovered by attaching the property of the rioters, the committee in its recommendations said.

(With PTI inputs)

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