BENGALURU: Family feud and an alleged conspiracy to sabotage the career of the Pulakeshi Nagar Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy by his party rivals and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) are emerging as the possible reasons behind the burning down of his house, said sources.
The Tuesday attack on the DJ Halli police station and the MLA’s house in Kaval Byrasandra was led by “outsiders”, say residents of Devarajeevanahalli (DJ Halli,) who are yet to recover from the shock of the violence. “There were outsiders in the mob, who gathered before the DJ Halli police station within no time and damaged it. They burnt down Anna’s house.
He is like a family member to a majority of the people in this area,” said Munna, a DJ Halli resident. “We are supporters of ‘Anna’. How can we think of harming him?” asked cable operator Fairoz of Devara Jeevana Halli.
“Anna is a very popular politician. He does not differentiate between people on religion or financial status. We have always voted for him even when he was with the JD(S). We vote for Anna and not the party he represents,” said Fairoz. “On every Eid he stands at the Tannery Road Circle and wishes everyone. On Ganesha (Chaturthi) and St Mary’s feast, you can find him walking inside the narrow lanes, greeting people,” he said.
Attack on Murthy may be work of rivals: Ex-Cong leader
As one speaks to more people in DJ Halli, voices in support of Murthy in the Muslim-dominated area get stronger and the alleged reasons behind the attack on his house become less opaque. A former JD(S) leader, he had joined the Congress in 2017 on a call from his mentor and former CM Siddaramaiah, Murthy told TNIE. In 2018, he defeated his predecessor Prasanna Kumar, who had contested the election on a JD(S) ticket.
“Some of his rivals in the party may have joined hands with the SDPI to discredit him even though the latter is the bete noire of Congress Muslim leaders,” said a local leader. A former Congress leader told TNIE that the attack on Murthy may have been the handiwork of his rivals within the party and SDPI, which has a stronger organisational skill among the youths in the area. “The police investigation should reveal who funded the mob,” he said.
Surprisingly, regarding Murthy’s nephew P Naveen, who had allegedly posted some highly objectionable post on his Facebook page and said to be the reason behind the arson, the MLA’s supporters said that the latter had nothing to do with Naveen. “Anna is not on talking terms with Naveen. In 2015, Naveen had approached the MLA when he was with the JD(S) for a ticket for the BBMP election, but he refused. JD(S) had fielded Anna’s wife Shailaja from Ward 48. She lost the election.
Naveen has been holding a grudge against his uncle since then but has used his relationship for his vested interests,” said a local leader. Whether Naveen fell into the trap of the SDPI-Murthy’s rival combo and planned the coup against his uncle, or his Facebook post was hacked is being investigated by the police.
Blasphemy, police inaction behind unrest: SDPI
The Social Democratic Party of India, Karnataka, has condemned the blasphemous act, police firing and the alleged delaying tactics of the police in arresting the culprit for the post. Abdul Hannan, Gen Secretary of SDPI, Karnataka, claimed that the blasphemous post was by Naveen, the nephew of local Congress MLA Akhanda Sreenivas.
He said, “When complaints were filed at 7pm at the DJ Halli police station, the police inspector and ACP had asked them to wait for two hours. Even at 11.30pm, the police didn’t arrest Naveen. This led to the worsening of the situation. The police resorted to firing which took three precious lives. Had the police acted responsibly, the untoward incidents could have been avoided.” “Earlier, when a local youth had commented on social media, the police had arrested him within 10 minutes.
But in this case, the police played delay tactics under political pressure,” he alleged. Abdul Hannan said the SDPI condemns the police for unnecessarily dragging them into the incident. In fact, the SDPI leaders pacified the mob several times in the presence of police and local Ulemas, he said. He said the SDPI demands that Naveen be prosecuted and that ‘irresponsible’ police officers be suspended.