Mumbai: 24 people have been arrested in Mumbai for Saturday's violence near Azad Maidan. Two people were killed and 55 others were injured after a protest over ethnic clashes in Assam turned violent there. Investigation is now on to determine if the violence was planned and the protesters were armed.
Here are the big developments in this story:
- 24 people who have been arrested for the clashes were produced in a Mumbai court on Sunday. They have been booked for rioting and damage to public and private property. All of them have been remanded to police custody till August 19.
- Not only did miscreants torch vehicles belonging to the media and the police, they also desecrated the Amar Jawan memorial dedicated to the Unknown Soldier which is built at CST station. Government Railway Police (GRP) have CCTV footage of the mob boarding from Kurla station, alighting at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and vandalising vehicles. The footage also shows mob armed with rods and sticks.
- CCTV footage also shows how the mob that went berserk and molested women cops. Three police weapons - two rifles and one pistol - were stolen at the time of the clashes. While the two rifles were recovered today, the pistol is still missing. Those arrested have also been booked for theft of weapon and molestation.
- Mumbai Crime Branch officers will now study the speeches made by the protesters at Azad Maidan to find out how and when the crowd got agitated and also how the two men were killed. Sources say the organisers informed the police that about 1500 people would attend the protest rally after which 700 policemen were deployed.
- Investigators are also studying the CCTV footage of various places around the scene of violence, like the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and the CST traffic signal, to find out if the violence was planned and if the protesters were armed. The police have also asked various media channels, who were present at the time of the clashes, to share their footage for the probe.
- Though the situation has been calm today, Mumbai Police and fire brigade officials carried out flag marches this morning.
- Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan condemned the attack and visited the injured in hospital on Saturday night. He then ordered the Mumbai Crime Branch to investigate the matter. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde also condemned the attack and warned of strong action against rumour mongers.
- Yesterday, protesters began gathering at Azad Maidan around noon. By 2 pm, over 5000 of them were there. But after a few hours, as the crowds swelled, the peaceful protest turned violent. Around 3.30 pm, a section of protesters started pelting stones and torched 11 vehicles including police and media vans. The police then had to fire in the air and resort to lathicharge to disperse the crowds. The State Reserve Police and riot control police were also immediately pressed into action and the situation was brought under control in 30 minutes.
- Among the 55 people who were injured in the violence, 45 were policemen.
- The protesters had gathered in Azad Maidan to condemn the violence between Bodos and Bengali speaking settlers in Assam over the last one month. The clashes have left nearly four lakh people displaced and over 70 dead in the state.