A major law and order situation erupted in Bandra (W) on Saturday night after a mob of several hundred people, who accused the police of manhandling a person during an ‘Urs’ procession, clashed with the police, threw stones and even torched a few police vehicles. The police retaliated with lathi-charge to disperse the mob and spent three hours trying to bring things back to normal.
Thirteen policemen and two passers-by sustained minor injuries during the stone throwing. By Sunday afternoon, 14 persons had been arrested on charges of rioting while the Bandra police are searching for others involved in the incident.
Police said the trouble began around 10.30pm during the passage of a procession to mark the Urs at the Mahim Dargha. Senior inspector of Bandra police station Samad Shaikh said he and his staff were manning traffic on the SV Road.
There was also an Urs procession heading towards Mahim, leading to traffic snarls between Khar and Mahim. “A pedestrian was trying to cross SV Road through this traffic. I reprimanded him for trying to cross in a rash manner,” Shaikh said. This enraged the man, in his twenties, who began shouting that Shaikh had held him in a way that insulted his religious sentiments.
Locals and some people from the procession soon joined him. The mob swelled to more than 500 and demanded that Shaikh apologise to the man.
The police tried to pacify the crowd who started throwing stones. Seven policemen from the Bandra police station and six SRPF jawans were injured. Windowpanes of seven BEST buses were damaged, police said.
The irate mob entered a nearby police beat chowkie and tried to set fire to it, but were stopped, police said. They then set four police motorbikes on fire. Police had to shut down traffic on certain roads in Bandra (W) following the rioting and an additional force was rushed to the spot to contain the mob. The incident was brought under control by 2.30 am.