Bengaluru: Even as parts of east Bengaluru was on fire on Tuesday night, brave stories of how Muslim youths protected a temple and the mother of P Naveen, the man who posted an allegedly derogatory post that triggered the violence, have emerged.
A visibly shaken Jayanthi R, the mother of Naveen, told the local media: “Had local Muslim youths not come to my rescue, I don’t think I would be alive today.”
Jayanthi resides with her husband and family just 500 metres away from her younger brother, Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivasamurthy’s residence. On Tuesday evening, the family was watching TV while Naveen and his wife had gone out to buy groceries.
Said Jayanthi: “We were watching a serial when a mob gathered in front of our home. At 8.30pm, the mob vandalised and set fire to bikes. I got all my children and grandchildren to go to the terrace from where they were shifted to neighbouring houses.”
She stayed back as there were gold ornaments and valuables in the house. “There was a commotion outside, but I assumed the house would not be attacked. I wasn’t aware that it was related to us. I tried to ask some men on the street. I had never seen them before. The situation was gradually worsening and I panicked. There was no way I could flee as there were hundreds of people on the streets burning cars and bikes,” she said with tears welling in her eyes.
“At 10.30 pm, four or five local Muslim youths came to my house and told me I had to leave. By then, the mob entered our compound. One person told the youths escorting me that they were doing injustice to their religion by protecting me. The locals warned the mob that no woman or child should be touched. I was literally carried to the next building. In less than a minute, our building was set on fire,” Jayanthi said.
In another house nearby, a family, including two boys aged four and six, had to hide inside their toilet for hours while a mob ransacked their house and torched vehicles on Tuesday night.
At 7.30pm, A Robin, a washing machine mechanic, and his wife Sharmila saw over 100 men attacking the house of Naveen.
“People were shouting that the MLA’s relative resides on the top floor of our building and rushed towards us. That’s when my wife, mother, two children and I locked ourselves inside our tiny bathroom,” Robin recalled wondering why the mob had to target an ordinary man and his family.
“The angry mob toppled our fridge, broke the furniture and desecrated our puja room,” Sharmila told the local media.
Not content, the rioters then ransacked the neighbour’s home and allegedly took away gold, cash and other valuables.
In another incident, a group of Muslims formed a human chain to protect the Hanuman temple in RT Nagar, close to MLA Akhanda Srinivasamurthy’s office-cum-residence, which was set on fire by the mob. When the rioters turned towards the temple, a few youths formed a human chain around it and prevented them from targeting it. The video captured by an unknown person went viral on social media.