Did slum dwellers start Bandra fire to halt BMC demolition? Mumbai police think so
Mumbai police said five men are wanted, one of whom was also accused of participating in the August 11, 2012 riots at Azad Maidanmumbai Updated: Oct 31, 2017 01:02 IST
Police investigating Thursday’s fire at Garib Nagar slum in Bandra said they suspect that the blaze was a pre-planned operation. The Nirmal Nagar police said five men are wanted, one of whom was also accused of participating in the August 11, 2012 riots at Azad Maidan.
Deven Bharti, joint commissioner of police, law and order, confirmed that the cops were probing multiple angles, including the claim that slum dwellers, who wanted to stop the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s demolition, started the blaze.
Officers said a few slum dwellers said they heard that their neighbours had set the fire. Police are investigating based on this, as well as the statement of a senior civic official, who alleged that the men whose shanties were to be demolished were angry and used gas cylinders to start the blaze. Acting on his complaint, the police had registered an FIR.
Officials suspect that the fire caused cylinders to explode, which intensified the blaze. Police said they were trying to get evidence to ensure that their case can be proved in a court of law.
On Sunday, police arrested Sabir Khan for arson. They are on the hunt for more accused. Khan, who was in police custody for three days, was questioned at length about the events of October 26. Though police said they have a good idea of how the events unfolded on that day, they still need witnesses to corroborate certain claims.
Khan was also booked under sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house), 426 (mischief), 337 (endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal code.