Police quiz organisers about violent turn to 'peaceful' Azad Maidan rally
Organisers of the August 11 rally at Azad Maidan will be questioned about how the rally, which was supposed to be a peaceful protest the alleged atrocities against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar, turned violent.mumbai Updated: Sep 03, 2012 02:21 IST
Organisers of the August 11 rally at Azad Maidan will be questioned about how the rally, which was supposed to be a peaceful protest the alleged atrocities against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar, turned violent.
The Mumbai crime branch has issued notices to the organisers, under section 135 of the Bombay Police Act for violating the conditions of the rally. The organisers had signed an undertaking stating that the protest would be peaceful. According to the law, organisers of a rally have to give a written undertaking to the police, stating there will be no violence during the rally.
A senior crime branch official confirmed that they had issued the notices and were recording in the process of recording their statements.
In all, 17 organisers are under the police scanner. The crime branch is also examining speeches delivered by five of them at the rally, to check for inflammatory content, and legal opinion will be sought.
Two Muslim groups – the Madina-tul-Ilm, a Kurla based educational foundation, and the Raza Academy – had sought police permission to hold a peaceful rally at Azad Maidan. The crime branch has already recorded the statement of Maulana Ahmed Reza, one of the founders of Madinat-tul-Ilm.
Two persons were killed and 63 others suffered injuries when a violent mob vandalised private and public property, assaulted police personnel, and torched police vehicles and media vans during the protest at Azad Maidan on August 11. According to police estimates, property worth Rs2.12 crore was damaged. The police later said the violence seemed to be planned.
According to the police, the organisers had said that they expected 1,500 people at the rally. The police however received inputs that the crowd would be more than 15,000-strong. The police claimed that the onus of ensuring a peaceful rally was on the organisers.
So far, 58 people have been arrested in the case, of which three have been discharged. One of the two youth who damaged the Amar Jawan Jyoti has also been held. Police said they would arrest the masterminds soon.