Former MLA Roshan Baig (L) and Congress leader Zameer Ahmed Khan
Former MLA Roshan Baig (L) and Congress leader Zameer Ahmed Khan


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Bengaluru: The Bengaluru riots have once again brought forth the rivalry between two influential Muslim leaders of Karnataka and led them to trade public potshots over each other’s alleged role in patronising radical forces.

Former Congress colleagues Zameer Ahmed Khan, an incumbent MLA, and Roshan Baig have both accused each other of being cosy with the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political front of the Kerala-based radical Muslim outfit Popular Front of India (PFI). 

The duel came after police arrested many SDPI members in connection with the 11 August violence, which killed three people and was allegedly triggered by a blasphemous Facebook post about Prophet Muhammad. The post was allegedly made by Naveen Kumar, the nephew of local Congress MLA Akhand Srinivas Murthy. 

The exchange between Khan and Baig started with a tweet posted by the latter Sunday where he accused the Congress of “patronising” the SDPI. Alleging that the Congress had “patronised extreme radical organisations like SDPI” for political gains, the former Shivajinagar MLA said the “recent riots in Bengaluru have exposed the dark underbelly of local politics” in Karnataka. 

The assembly constituency of Shivajinagar oversees the areas of DG Halli and KG Halli, where the violence took place. The “tacit understanding is now backfiring on the Congress since it legitimised such organisations”, Baig said.

Khan hit back in a series of tweets Monday, saying Baig was making statements because he was scared he may face a police investigation in connection with the riots. He alleged the SDPI had contested the 2019 December bypolls in Shivajinagar at Baig’s behest. 

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