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Special teams formed; focus on CCTV, networking sites

Special teams have been formed by the crime branch to probe the violence at Azad Maidan on Saturday, which left two people dead and 63 injured. HT reports

mumbai Updated: Aug 13, 2012 01:13 IST
HT Correspondent

Special teams have been formed by the crime branch to probe the violence at Azad Maidan on Saturday, which left two people dead and 63 injured.

Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police, crime, said the teams, including 12 officers, will be headed by assistant commissioner of police Yashwant Vatkar and the progress will be monitored by deputy commissioner of police, detection, Ambadas Pote.

Roy said police were studying the speeches of the organisers to determine if they were provocative or inflammatory.

Also, the police will collect photographs, CCTV footage, videos from private parties (media channels and bystanders) to identify the protesters responsible for the violence.

Suspecting that the attack was pre-planned, the police teams are checking social networking sites for messages that could have riled the crowd.

"Many messages were sent to ensure there was a huge crowd at Azad Maidan. We suspect that the inflammatory messages were passed to get the crowd charged up," said officials, adding that the police were trying to trace the origin of the messages.

According to the police, certain newspapers had also carried advertisements about the rally, but they did not contain anything objectionable.

So far, 23 people have been arrested in connection with the violence, the police claim that number is likely to go up as many others who were not part of the rally had also participated in the violence that erupted at Azad Maidan.

Explaining the sequence of events, officials said the protesters took the police by surprise when they attacked three outdoor broadcasting (OB) vans of television news

channels parked opposite the civic headquarters around 3.20pm.

After this, the mob got more aggressive and turned their attention to police vehicles, private motorcycles and cars. Vehicles of two deputy commissioners of police were also attacked and damaged.

The extent of damage to public and private property is being studied, Roy said.