Baton-wielding police are now patrolling barricaded and deserted streets in parts of the southern Indian tech hub of Bengaluru, after three people were killed in Tuesday night clashes triggered by a Facebook post offensive to Muslims, Al Jazeera reports.
A police official confirmed the introduction of a new law banning gatherings following the Tuesday night clashes. The City of Bengaluru has about 12 million people.
The violence began late on Tuesday, with mobs pelting stones, burning vehicles and setting a police station on fire, and lasted until the early hours of Wednesday. Dozens of people were wounded.
According to Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said his officers had initially tried to hold back around 1,000 protesters using batons and tear gas, but then opened fire.
The suspect who made the offensive post has since been arrested and the Facebook post deleted.
A senior police official said, “The accused has stated that his account was hacked and he was unaware of uploading the derogatory post. We have retrieved the post which was deleted and a detailed investigation is underway. Possibilities of conspiracy cannot be denied at the moment.”
The Times of India newspaper reported the violence began when a nephew of a lawmaker allegedly posted remarks. The report says a mob gathered in front of the lawmaker’s house Tuesday evening and set two cars on fire. Other media reports say the house was set on fire as well.
Thousands of people then took to the streets outside a police station and clashed with officers.