Cops fail to act against organisers of Azad Maidan rally | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Cops fail to act against organisers of Azad Maidan rally

mumbai Updated: Aug 11, 2013 02:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Azad Maidan violence

It started out as a peaceful congregation where thousands gathered to protest against the alleged killing of Muslims in Myanmar and Assam. But a few hours and, as police records show, a few provocative speeches later, violence ensued, leaving two people dead and 92 injured.

Even though the crime branch has so far arrested 63 persons and added murder and criminal conspiracy charges in the case, little action has been taken against the organisers of the rally.

The incident also damaged the morale of the Mumbai police with the transfer of former police chief Arup Patnaik a few days after the violence.

Although crime branch officials, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that they were likely to file a supplementary charge sheet if more accused are arrested or if new evidence comes up, the violence on August 11 remains an unsolved mystery with critical questions that are yet to be answered.

Of the 63 arrested, five have been discharged while 58 others were named in 3,384 page charge sheet filed in November 2012. Raza Academy and the little-known Madina Tul Ilm Foundation, the organisers of the rally, were largely left alone by the police who only recorded their statements and booked a few of them for making allegedly provocative speeches.

The decision to go ahead with the murder charge was taken after the post-mortem report of the victims suggested that they were wounded by bullets fired at high velocity. The crime branch suspects the rounds were fired from the two stolen Self Loading Rifles.

Despite consulting a plenitude of visuals and photographs, available from the horde of media persons covering the event, the police have been unable to find out who actually fired the fatal shots.

The crime branch had said that a key accused Salim Lightwala had ensured that the rioters were armed with stones, weapons and fuel before coming to the event.