A day after a protest rally at Azad Maidan turned violent, leaving two dead and 63 others injured, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has approached the Union home ministry for help and requested the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to investigate whether a “foreign hand” was involved in the incident, which both the police and the state administration said was “planned and part of a conspiracy”.
The rally, organised by Raza Academy and Madina Tul Ilm foundation on Saturday to protest the violence against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar, got out of hand after somebody pulled out provocative posters.
The police have so far arrested 23 persons and booked them for murder, attempted murder and other offences under the Indian Penal Code. They were produced in court on Sunday and remanded in police custody till August 19.
The police have also booked 17 organisers, though they have not been arrested.
“I will be going to Delhi and meeting the Union home minister to discuss this issue. We will liaison with the IB so that there is better sharing of intelligence on whether there was a foreign hand in the violence,” Chavan said.
“Not all the people who came must have been involved in the plan, but a smaller group provoked the crowd,” said a senior home department official, requesting anonymity.
After review meetings with home department officials and the police, chief minister Chavan and RR Patil, state home minister, have identified the lacunae in the system that led to such an incident.
“There was no coordination between the railway police and local police even though the railway police saw that huge crowds were heading to CST,” the official said.
“Also, there was intelligence failure as there were SMSes, photos and videos doing the rounds on social networking websites about the protest planned. And the group leading the protest has questionable history.”
The crime branch, which is investigating the incident, will include these details in their probe report, which is to be submitted to the state in the next eight days.
The police have also asked mediapersons to submit all the photographs and the videos that they have shot of the incident so that they can identify and book the perpetrators of the violence, said an official from the chief minister’s office, requesting anonymity.