The Mumbai police registered multiple cases of rioting and unlawful assembly after an unruly mob, mostly influenced by rumours spread on mobile chat applications, created a ruckus in parts of Lalbaug, Parel, Worli and Byculla on Sunday night.
The police, who reacted swiftly by imposing a heavy bandobast appealed to people to not believe in rumours. While six cases were registered at Byculla, Bhoiwada, Kalachowky and Worli police stations, police said 12 people had sustained minor injuries, while one was grievously hurt.
According to the police, the ruckus began when the traffic police stopped a group of youngsters, who were participating in a religious procession, at Bharatmata junction around 8.30pm. “Three youth riding on the same bike, and two others on a different bikes were seen travelling south-bound, but in the wrong direction,” said RD Shinde, additional commissioner of police, Central region.
After traffic policemen stopped them, the youth got involved in a verbal altercation with the police. A few people near Bharatmata junction also joined in.
The police dispersed the crowd, but soon after, hundreds of people, gathered at the spot and began creating a ruckus. As word spread on mobile messenger apps, crowds began gathering and rioting.
The Worli police registered a case against 50 people. They have identified 10 for injuring two people and for setting a motorcycle ablaze. Police stated blunt objects were used to cause injury. Similarly, in Byculla, case 60 unidentified people have been booked for stone pelting. Parked vehicles in Lalbaug and Parel were damaged, police said.
The police dispersed the mob and brought the situation under control. They helped women by dropping them in police vehicles or escorting them.
No reaction was observed on Monday as the police imposed a thick security blanket. Offices, schools and colleges were unaffected. “We took all steps to contain the situation from going out of control so that there was no cascading effect of the same anywhere else in the city,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police (crime).