Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh on Wednesday issued a stern warning to those have assaulted policemen in recent incidents including the Azad Maidan violence, saying anyone found engaged in such a crime would be dealt with very severely.
“No one should dare beat up the police. They represent the state and are the state’s law enforcement machinery,” said Singh on Wednesday.
Over the past few months, there have been several incidents in which police personnel and traffic police have been assaulted.
A 53-year-old assistant sub-inspector of Kherwadi police station was grievously injured after he tried to confront five men who were allegedly fleeing with a vehicle at the Bandra Flyover on August 30. On August 17, a traffic constable was reportedly assaulted by bikers after he stopped them from plying on the JJ flyover. In the Azad Maidan violence on August 11, 58 police personnel were injured when a protest turned violent.
Singh said that he would soon arm traffic police with batons to deal with “hooligans”. In a similar move, former commissioner of police Arup Patnaik had issued guns to a few traffic policemen who were stationed at key junctions.
Speaking at a press conference, Singh also addressed questions about the Azad Maidan violence, stating that the police would easily let off anyone found to be innocent during the on-going investigations, and that appropriate legal action would be taken against perpetrators based only on strong evidence.
“If the local police have made any wrong arrests, we will not harass them at all,” he said reassuringly. He added that the police had evidence against most of those arrested. Five persons, against whom evidence was found wanting, have already been discharged. Singh said he had already met three delegations of Muslim leaders on the issue, who had claimed that many of the first 23 arrests, made by the Azad Maidan police soon after the violence, were innocent.
The Azad Maidan incident took place on August 11, when a rally organised to protest against alleged violence against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar, turned violent. The attack left two dead and 63 injured.