Two arrested for protesting for Palestine, allegations of violence on both sides | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Two arrested for protesting for Palestine, allegations of violence on both sides

Oct 15, 2023 07:50 AM IST

According to the police, 10 to 15 youngsters assembled at the spot with no prior permission or intimidation of an assembly and started shouting slogans around 7 pm. Some of the policemen on duty around the area tried to reason with them, asking them to disperse and organise the meet later with the necessary permissions

MUMBAI: After four persons were pre-emptively detained for seeking permission to hold a protest in support for Palestine, two others, Ruchir Lad and Supreeth Ravish, were arrested on Friday night for going ahead with the protest in Mankhurd on Friday. The duo has been charged under the Indian Penal Code’s relevant sections relating to unlawful assembly, disobedience towards a public servant’s order and for using force on a public servant.

(RWIP) Revolutionary Workers Party of Indian members protested against Israeli bombing In Gaza, Palestinians at Mankhurd on Friday. 2023. (Satish Bate/ HT PHOTO)
(RWIP) Revolutionary Workers Party of Indian members protested against Israeli bombing In Gaza, Palestinians at Mankhurd on Friday. 2023. (Satish Bate/ HT PHOTO)

A senior police officer said that the men had no permission to conduct a rally or protest in the area. “They had not intimidated us about any public gathering in this regard either,” he said. “Even if they had asked for permission, they would have been told to go to Azad Maidan for the protest, as such activities are no longer permitted at any other place in the city.”

Four persons of the Revolutionary Workers Party of India (RWPI), the organisers of the protest, had been detained before the protest for seeking permission for it, one at Matunga and the other three at Mankhurd. They were detained under Section 151 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, which relates to preventing a cognisable offence, but were later released. Permission for the protest was refused outside Dadar station and Azad Maidan.

Talking about the incident, the police officer said that 10 to 15 youngsters assembled at the spot with no prior permission or intimidation of an assembly and started shouting slogans around 7 pm. Some of the policemen on duty around the area tried to reason with them, asking them to disperse and organise the meet later with the necessary permissions.

“This angered some of the men in the assembly, who started assaulting the on-duty police officers,” said the officer. “One of them took hold of an aged constable by the collar and pushed him to the ground. This assault on on-duty police officers is a serious offence.”

When asked whether this was documented, the officer said that it was all recorded on video and had also been witnessed by several residents of the area, who could confirm it. “The men had to be brought to the police station due to the episode turning violent,” he said. “The constable sustained neck and face injuries, and a hawaldar suffered leg injuries. Both were in hospital on Saturday.”

The organisers of the protest, on their part, claimed that one of the arrested, Ruchir Lad, was beaten in police custody, and showed a video where Lad’s hands were red and swollen and there was a gash on one side of his face.

The police officer refuted the allegations of violence. “They were refusing to enter the police van even after being told that charges would be pressed against them,” he said. “In order to get them in, one of our officers pushed them inside. This caused one person’s head to hit the roof of the van, which hurt him. But it was not an intentional act of violence against them.”

The accused were produced before the holiday court at Shindewadi, Dadar, on Saturday, where the bruises were shown and a complaint registered by their lawyers. Lad’s statement was taken, his wounds inspected and a medical test ordered. The magistrate refused police custody to the Mankhurd police and placed the men in judicial custody at Arthur Road Jail. The matter has not been placed before the regular court on Monday.

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Maharashtra, released a statement condemning the arrests. “It is observed that the Sections 332 and 353 of the IPC are being rampantly misapplied and misused against civilian protesters, journalists and activists in the course of exercising their fundamental rights and performing their fundamental duties, and also creating hurdles in their legitimate work and democratic expression,” read the statement.

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