Social media post triggers violence in Hubli, 40 arrested

Police resort to mild lathi-charge, use tear gas shells to disperse mob; Section 144 imposed in the city

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A large number of people went on a rampage in the early hours of Sunday over a social media post in the old town of Hubli in Karnataka, damaging many police vehicles, a hospital and a Hanuman temple.

Some police officers were injured on duty, police said adding, Section 144 has been imposed in the city. “Around 40 people have been arrested and some FIRs have been registered,” the police said.

Police arrest boy

Hubli-Dharwad Police Commissioner Labhu Ram said the violence erupted after a man shared an objectionable post on social media, allegedly targeting the Muslim community. Others took objection to it and lodged a police complaint. Subsequently, police arrested the boy and a case was registered against him, a NDTV report quoted him.

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Not satisfied with the action, some people started gathering around the police station. They were persuaded and later dispersed from the spot. Around midnight, a large number of people once again started gathering around the police station, the officer said, adding that their leaders were summoned to the station and apprised about the action taken so far.

Prohibitory orders in city

However, the mob outside the station was not ready to listen to them and they went on a rampage, Labhu Ram said, adding that the mob damaged some police vehicles as they resorted to stone pelting. Police resorted to mild lathi-charge and used tear gas shells to disperse the mob, officials said, adding that prohibitory orders have been imposed in the city following the violence.

“Six cases have been registered against those involved in the violence. The situation is under control now,” said Labhu Ram.

Police officers hurt

About a dozen police officers have sustained injuries, the police commissioner said. “We will not spare those who took law into their hands. We have taken all preventive measures to stop repetition of such incident,” he added.

Speaking to reporters in Hospet, the district headquarters town of the newly carved Vijayanagara district, state Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said “a police officer is in a serious condition. Some people involved in the attack have been arrested.”

“It was a pre-planned attack,” he said adding, “The miscreants wanted to create Devara Jeevanahalli and Kadugondahalli like incident in Hubli.” Jnanendra was referring to the 2020 riot in Bengaluru where about 4,000 Muslims set on fire the residence of Congress MLA from Pulakeshi Nagar assembly constituency in Bengaluru R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy and his sister over a social media post by his relative.

(With Agency inputs)

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