The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested 17 persons in the Bengaluru riots case. The accused are office-bearers, active members and sympathizers of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the Popular Front of India (PFI).
With this development, the number of arrests in the riots conspiracy case has gone up to 187. Besides launching an attack on Kadugondana Halli police station in August of this year, the accused were charged by the NIA for extensive use of social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp “to spread terror among people”.
They also mobilised people from faraway places with the intention of creating panic and terror, the NIA stated.
In a press release, NIA said that the investigation so far had revealed that the SDPI leaders including Md Sharieff, president, Bengaluru District, Imran Ahmed, president KG Halli Ward along with other senior leaders like Rubah Waqas, Shabbar Khan and Shaik Ajmal had conducted meetings at Thanissandra and KG Halli wards on the evening of August 11.
The release said that the leaders had therein conspired, mobilised and led the crowd gathered at KG Halli police station to attack police personnel, causing huge damage to public and police station vehicles. It also named others including Abbas, SDPI president of Nagawara ward and his associates Azil Pasha, Irfan Khan and Akbar Khan of mobilising large crowds.
SDPI has denied any involvement in the riots but the NIA maintains that incriminating evidence was recovered during searches at the premises of SDPI activists who have been identified as accused in the case.
The agency said that it found air-gun, pellets, sharp weapons and iron rods during the searches. Some digital devices and many incriminating documents related to SDPI and PFI were recovered in the 43 raids carried out in September this year, the NIA added.