The police on Sunday told the court that Saturday’s violence at Azad Maidan, which has left two dead and 63 injured, was premeditated.
The police have in all arrested 23 persons and booked them for murder, attempted murder and offences such as dacoity, rioting, molestation and causing damage to property.
The police decided to book them for murder as they suspect that one of the two youngsters killed, Aftab Aktar Khan, 17, a resident of Kasaiwada in Kurla (east), was shot with bullets that don’t belong to police.
Officials are waiting for the ballistic report for a final confirmation. The mob stole two self-loading rifles and a pistol from the police along with 160 rounds of ammunition. While the two SLRs were found in damaged condition, the pistol is yet to be recovered.
The crime branch, which is investigating the incident, has recovered a country-made firearm (katta) from the spot.
The 23 accused, produced in Esplanade court on Sunday, were remanded in police custody till August 19.
The police have also named 17 organisers in the First Information Report filed in the case, though they have not been arrested so far.
Of the 17, five are speakers who addressed the rally, and officials said they would check the content of their speeches to see if they used provocative language or incited the mob in anyway. The leaders of the rally will soon be questioned.
Explaining why the police are convinced that the violence was planned, a senior crime branch official said: “The attackers seemed to have brought a stock of fuel with them and were carrying rods, sticks and knives with them.”
Defence lawyer Wahab Khan argued in court that the police had arrested the wrong people and that none of the organisers had been arrested. He also alleged that the accused had been wrongly charged for murder as the two youngsters died in police firing
Officials said the rally was organised by two outfits, the Madina Tul Ilm foundation from Kurla and the Raza Academy.
The foundation had applied for permission from the Azad Maidan police to protest the alleged killing of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar.
In the application, the organisers said they expected 1,500 people to attend. As per police estimate, more than 20,000 persons turned up.
Officials maintain that more 650 policemen and four SRPF platoons had been deployed.