At least three people have been killed in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru as police clashed with hundreds of Muslims who attacked a police station and set fire to vehicles during a protest over a Facebook post considered offensive to Islam, authorities said.
Senior police officer Kamal Pant said protesters burned public and police vehicles and attacked the house of a politician whose relative was accused of posting remarks reportedly involving the Prophet Mohammed. The post has since been deleted, he said.
“Three people died in the police action and more than 110 people have been arrested for attacking the police station,” Mr Pant said.
He added that at least 60 officers were injured in the violence on Tuesday night in Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore.
He said police fired live ammunition in self-defence to disperse the crowd after initially using tear gas and batons.
Mr Pant added that the person responsible for the Facebook post was arrested and a law prohibiting gatherings was imposed in the city, with a heavy police presence in some areas.
“Things are peaceful now,” he said.
The violence flared when Muslims started protesting outside the politician’s house and a police station. The protesters turned violent, stoning vehicles and setting them on fire.
BS Yediyurappa, chief minister of Karnataka state, of which Bengaluru is the capital, directed police to take strict action against those involved in the protest and appealed to the public to maintain peace.
“The government will not tolerate such provocations and rumours,” he said.
The violence in southern India comes months after communal riots in the national capital, New Delhi, in which more than 55 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.