Protests of Facebook post offensive to Muslims leave three dead in India

The outrage was sparked by a provocateur

Three people have died and dozens were injured, including police officers, after violent protests erupted outside a police station in Bengaluru, India.

The outrage was sparked by a provocateur -- who is related to a local politician -- accused of posting derogatory content related to the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook, police said Wednesday.

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Rioters burned public and police vehicles, threw stones and attacked the house of the politician whose family was at the center of the allegations. The post has since been deleted and the person allegedly responsible for it has been arrested, police said.

A woman and child walk past the wreckage of vehicles and furniture burnt during violent protests in Bengaluru, India, on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo)

A woman and child walk past the wreckage of vehicles and furniture burnt during violent protests in Bengaluru, India, on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo)

“Three people died in the police action and more than 110 people have been arrested for attacking the police station,” senior police officer Kamal Pant said. At least 60 police officers were injured in the violence Tuesday night in Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore.

Pant said police fired live ammunition in self-defense to disperse the crowd after initially using tear gas and batons.

Authorities imposed a ban on large gatherings afterward and beefed up security throughout the city.

“Things are peaceful now,” Pant said.

A policeman thrashes a motorist for violating prohibitory orders a day after violent protests in Bengaluru, India, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo)

A policeman thrashes a motorist for violating prohibitory orders a day after violent protests in Bengaluru, India, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo)

Muslims and Hindus throughout India have a longstanding history of tension and pockets of violence have returned in recent years, stoked by policies under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government, which has held power since 2014.

Meanwhile, Muslim leaders urged angry groups to stop the uprising Tuesday and to remain peaceful.

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.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.