Mob fury over Ambedkar photo
Tension prevailed in New Pali area of Khar (West) on Tuesday after a mob damaged cars and set tyres on fire early in the morning to protest against the defacing of a photograph of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on social networking site, Facebook.mumbai Updated: Feb 16, 2011 02:03 IST
Tension prevailed in New Pali area of Khar (West) on Tuesday after a mob damaged cars and set tyres on fire early in the morning to protest against the defacing of a photograph of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on social networking site, Facebook. Residents chose to stay indoors, shops and establishments remained shut all day and auto rickshaws and taxis refused to ply in the area as the police tried to control a mob of more than 300 Ambedkar supporters as they went on a rampage on Dr Ambedkar Road for nearly three hours.
The police said that a local newspaper had reported that a community on Facebook had defaced Ambedkar’s photograph. “Around 150 supporters came to the police station at 11.30pm on Monday and we convinced them that action would be taken. However, because the server of the social networking site in based in the US, it is long procedure. The mob then gathered on Dr. Ambedkar Road and started pelting vehicles with stones,” a police officer from Khar police station said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. More than 400 policemen were deployed in the area. The situation was brought under control before noon.
The protestors alleged that the police resorted to a lathi charge. The police denied this. “Six policemen sustained injuries. We were trying to bring the mob under control and had to resort to a lathi charge but nobody was injured,” the officer said.
Policemen patrolled the area all day. “We did not step out of the house because we were afraid. I did not even send my son to school,” said a resident, Prajakta Shinde.
“The area was like a war zone in the early hours and we thought that it was going to continue like this for days. However, the police controlled the situation within hours.”
The police have registered a case of rioting against the protestors and arrested four of them on Tuesday morning. They have also registered a case of hurting religious sentiments of a particular community against an unidentified person. “We will get in touch with Facebook authorities in the US and ask them to block the community,” KMM Prasanna, zonal deputy commissioner of police said.