A Burmese national, who allegedly sneaked into the country 16 years ago and worked as a helper in a mosque at Bandra (East), may be the key conspirator behind the Azad Maidan violence of August 11, the police said.
Yusuf, 24, (full name not revealed), got a text message about the alleged atrocities against Muslims in Burma (now Myanmar) from one of his contacts. He in turn sent it to an externed criminal holed up in Bangalore, Salim Lightwala, who was arrested by the crime branch on Saturday.
Yusuf reportedly also passed on the text message to one of the Maulana's in a mosque at Bandra (East), who further circulated it though his contacts in the city.
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police, crime, told Hindustan Times that they learnt about Yusuf only after Lightwala's arrest. "Now the suspected conspiracy behind the pre-meditated violence is going to be revealed," he added.
Investigators have maintained that the attack was a pre-planned one and the conspiracy was hatched much before the rally. The violence had left two dead and 63 injured, including 58 policemen.
Sixty-two people have been arrested in the case so far, of which five have been discharged due to lack of evidence.
According to crime branch sources, Yusuf had come into the city illegally after sneaking through the India-Bangladesh border when he was eight years old. He then started to stay in mosques and took odd jobs such as cleaning and cooking.
"Before the August 11 violence, Yusuf came in contact with his old friends in Burma, who sent him the message claiming that three lakh Muslims were suffering," an official said.
With this new information, the police will have to add another IPC section to the case, 120(B), related to punishment for criminal conspiracy. The police have currently charged the accused for murder, attempted murder, molestation, among others.
The police also found that those who indulged in violence were mostly from Govandi, Bandra and Antop hill areas. They came armed with fuel oil, knives, rods and arson. Several police vans and media vans were torched during the violence.