Amidst uneasy calm in Mira Road, residents blame ‘miscreants’ for rioting | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Amidst uneasy calm in Mira Road, residents blame ‘miscreants’ for rioting

ByMegha Sood
Jan 25, 2024 08:24 AM IST

Police said a total of 19 people had been arrested for rioting and posting inflammatory content on social media, and further probe was on to identify fake videos and book perpetrators

MUMBAI: An uneasy calm prevailed on Wednesday over Mira Road, which was rocked by communal rioting on Sunday night, followed by stray incidents of violence on Monday. Over 1,000 police personnel including six platoons of the State Reserve Police Force and three platoons of the Rapid Action Force were deployed in the area to prevent any untoward incident, even as residents blamed ‘miscreants’ for the violence. Police said a total of 19 people had been arrested for rioting and posting inflammatory content on social media, and further probe was on to identify fake videos and book perpetrators.

Amidst uneasy calm in Mira Road, residents blame ‘miscreants’ for rioting
Amidst uneasy calm in Mira Road, residents blame ‘miscreants’ for rioting

“We have never witnessed such chaos in the past five years,” said Kirit Trivedi, who owns a jewellery shop a few feet away from where the riot started on Sunday night. “Business has slow since the incident, but at least there is peace in the locality. All we want is protection,” he said.

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According to Shrikant Pathak, additional commissioner of police, Mira Bhayander, the police have until now registered 10 FIRs in connection with rioting and posting inflammatory/fake content on social media. Six FIRs were registered following Sunday night’s rioting in Naya Nagar; two FIRs pertained to stray attacks on street-side stalls on Monday; and two FIRs pertained to posting communally charged/ fake videos on Facebook and Instagram, he said.

Among the 19 arrested, 13 were allegedly involved in rioting on Sunday night out of 14 accused identified by studying CCTV footage. Four arrested accused allegedly vandalised street-side stalls on Monday, while two arrested accused allegedly posted inflammatory content on social media.

“We had detained several others based on suspicion, but they were released after we verified their locations and cleared them,” said Pathak. The police have formed four teams to investigate the incident, and the probe till now indicates that the violence on Sunday was not pre-planned, he added.

Shaukat Shaikh, a resident of Mira Road’s Naya Nagar neighbourhood and an eyewitness to Sunday’s incidents echoed Pathak, while blaming ‘miscreants’ for the violence.

“Some men on motorbikes, who were a part of a religious procession, entered the market area on Sunday, shouting slogans and creating chaos. Some residents thought they fired shots in the air, gathered around them and tried to confront them. Meanwhile, some cars that were part of the procession took a wrong turn and reached a dead end,” he said. Videos circulating on social media showed a rally participant clad in a saffron scarf brandishing a gun, which police found was fake.

“The motorbike-borne men crashed into a local while trying to flee from the spot which led to an argument,” said Shaikh, who owns a shop in the neighbourhood. “The argument turned violent when a few miscreants seized the moment and started attacking the procession and vandalising the vehicles,” he added.

Other residents of Naya Nagar blamed politicians for fuelling communal passions further following Sunday’s violence. The local MLA and BJP leader Geeta Bharat Jain told reporters on Tuesday, “Five minutes of freehand would be good enough to express the Hindu community’s power considering its bigger population in the area.” Along similar lines, Kankavli MLA and BJP leader Nitesh Rane, who visited Naya Nagar on Tuesday, told reporters, “If any of our Hindu karyakartas is targeted and arrested, I will return within 24 hours and create havoc. Naya Nagar is not Naya Pakistan.” Both videos are in circulation on WhatsApp groups in the area.

Police officers said no FIR had been registered against the two leaders, but every video was being probed and checked for veracity. “We will take stringent action against people posting and forwarding fake videos instigating violence,” said Pathak.

BOX: Bringing perpetrators to book

Police have registered 10 FIRs and arrested 19 people in connection with violence in Mira Road.

6 FIRs pertain to Sunday night’s rioting in Naya Nagar

2 FIRs pertain to stray violence on Monday

2 FIRs pertained to communally charged/ fake social media posts

13 arrested were allegedly involved in Sunday’s rioting

4 arrested allegedly vandalised street-side stalls on Monday

2 arrested allegedly posted inflammatory content on social media.

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