Edited by Shamik Ghosh | Updated: August 14, 2012 13:43 IST
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today to brief him about the clashes in Mumbai and the investigation into the incident. In Lok Sabha today, as soon as the house met Shiv Sena and BJP members from Maharashtra stormed into the Well demanding dismissal of the Maharashtra government and a statement from Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
The Mumbai Police, sources say, was warned that a protest organised on Saturday at the city's Azad Maidan ground would draw thousands of people, and that just before the protest began, a mob of nearly 1000 people, armed with knives and swords, was heading to the city's main train station, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).
The police was expecting 3000-4000 people. Instead, 10,000 showed up. The demonstration had been organised to protest against the ethnic violence in Assam, in which more than 70 people have died in the last month. The riot in Mumbai began at 3:20 pm; two people were killed and 55 injured, most of them policemen.
CCTV footage shows an armed mob boarding a train from Kurla station and arriving at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) armed with sticks, rods and swords. The Mumbai police believes this mob infiltrated the protest to execute a conspiracy of violence.
The mob molested women and female constables. Members of the mob set media and police vehicles on fire and desecrated the Amar Jawan memorial dedicated to the Unknown Soldier at the CST station.
Sources say that the intelligence wing of the Mumbai police had warned in early August that as the violence in Assam spiralled, provocative messages were being sent out in Mumbai, some via SMS.
A day before the demonstration, the Mumbai police was warned, Friday prayers and gatherings were used to urge people to attend the Azad Maidan session. This should have alerted the police to gear up for a massive crowd.
17 people who were present on the dais at Azad Maidan are being examined too, police sources said. These include five Speakers; the police are verifying if they said anything inflammatory to provoke the crowd.
The ethnic clashes in Assam between the indigenous Bodo tribals and Bengali-speaking settlers has resulted in the state's worst violence in over a decade. Congress president Sonia Gandhi visited the epicentre of the violence yesterday in Kokrjahar in lower Assam. 4 lakh people in four districts of Assam have been displaced from their homes. The Congress government in Assam has been accused of ignoring early warning signs of escalating tension between the two groups
The Opposition BJP has said the clashes should not be described as ethnic or communal. It says the problem lies in the unchecked illegal migration of Bangladeshis, who are settling in areas like Korajhar in large numbers. The Bodos, the BJP says, are feeling marginalised in their homeland.
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