The Bengaluru police have arrested 119 people who allegedly went on a rampage in Padarayanapura ward which has been sealed to stop the threats of COVID-19 virus. The attack on 19 April was condemned by the government and security has been tightened in this west Bengaluru neighbourhood since then.
While the investigations into the case are on, questions are being raised over contradictions between the details mentioned in the FIRs registered regarding the incident, and the statements given by the Bengaluru police commissioner and the commissioner of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Even though these two senior officers had said no one was attacked in the violence, an FIR has been filed with charges of attempt to murder.
No Violence, said Senior Officers
Hours after the incident, Bengaluru’s senior police and BBMP officials gave multiple media statements where they categorically said that no police officers or health workers were attacked.
Talking to Times Now on the night of 20 April, Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao said: “… In adjacent places also, people cooperated peacefully and were going. Only this group I don't know at whose provocation they resorted to violence, broke two gates and broke one counter where medical professionals are usually seated, but no police person, no doctors, no health workers have been injured in this incident.”
Deputy commissioner of police (West) B Ramesh also told news channels that no one was attacked.
“On Sunday evening, 22 people were shifted out of the ward for quarantine. At 6 pm, the team returned to collect the second batch, but some residents objected. They left by 6.30 pm by when a crowd had gathered and tried to follow the health workers. But the workers left the ward. Around 7.30 pm when health workers were not at the spot, violence erupted.”BBMP Commissioner BH Anil Kumar.
FIRs Tell a Different Story?
Five FIRs have been filed by four policemen and one health worker in connection to the violence. The first FIR, filed by head constable Venkatesh YT, names five people and claims he was attacked by a mob carrying sticks, stones and a knife.
According to this FIR, at around 7 pm, the streetlights in the area were broken and stones were pelted at the police. It also adds that the attackers destroyed police barricades and a tent put up for policemen and health workers.
Specifically talking about the attack on him, the head constable said: “Around 50-60 people came premeditated to disrupt our duty. I was attacked using hands and pushed as well. The mob shouted, ‘don’t leave the policemen without killing them’ and ‘hit the police’,” the head constable claimed in the FIR.
Three other FIRs were filed by police officers from the station, who mentioned similar details. Another FIR was filed by Dr Yogesh MC, a BBMP health officer who also made the same allegations.
All the accused were booked under IPC sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 307 (attempt to murder) as well as the sections on offences under the Disaster Management Act.
Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao and BBMP commissioner Anil Kumar were not available when The Quint tried to contact them for their comments on the contradictions between their statements and the FIRs. The story will be updated with their latest statements as soon as they are available.