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Sunday, August 12, 2012

23 rioters held, charged with murder, dacoity CM Suspects Foreign Hand In Violence

Mumbai: The crime branch of the Mumbai police, which is probing Saturday's violence near Azad Maidan, arrested 23 youths on Sunday from various parts of the city. They have been charged with murder, dacoity, rioting, arson, destruction of property and molestation of eight women constables. The suspects were produced before a court and remanded in police custody till August 19. Two persons were killed and 63 people, including 58 policemen and five civilians, were injured as vandals ran riot 
during a rally organized by NGOs to protest the killings of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar. The organizers, including Raza Academy, on Sunday apologized to the media and the police for the wanton acts of aggression by "anti-social elements''. 
    The police managed to recover 10 rounds of a police self-loaded revolver (SLR) in Colaba and 20 rounds from Mumbra. The firearm and ammunition were stolen during the mayhem on Sunday afternoon. However, 130 SLR rounds and another service revolver belonging to an inspector, along with 10 rounds, are yet to be traced. 

    Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said there was a possibility of a "foreign hand". He said he would visit Delhi soon to seek the help of the intelligence bureau and the home ministry to determine if there was a "bigger conspiracy". "At this point both are not ruled out," he said. 

Organizers blame 'anti-social elements' 
Organizers of Saturday's rally have apologized to the police and media for the violence. "We went there for a peaceful protest. However, some anti-social elements came and created problems," said Moin Miya, who spoke at the meeting. P 2 

Inflammatory SMSs triggered violence? 
The violence that rocked south Mumbai and caught police napping may have been ignited by mass distribution of inflammatory text messages, video clips and photographs of killings in Myanmar. The cyber crime cell is investigating. P 2 
'Protesters carried swords, kerosene' 
    Police officials reviewing Saturday's violence believe many protesters had come with the intention of creating a law and order problem. "Some of them were carrying swords, knives, bamboo sticks, kerosene, etc. We are interrogating them," said crime branch head Himanshu Roy. "We plan to file a fresh case under section 51 (a) of the Bombay Police Act for recovery of damages from culprits. We will send our report to the state," he added. 
    Cops have obtained more than a dozen CCTV images and collected CDs from news channels. "We have images where youths can be seen pouring petrol on vehicles and set
ting them on fire," a crime branch officer said. Ten officers with ACP Yeshwant Vhatkar will probe the case. Cops also suspect the use of private firearms during the violence. 
    "Cops expected a crowd of 10-12,000, but the numbers rose much higher. Some protesters did not even enter Azad Maidan, but created a ruckus outside. It seems the violence was planned," deputy commissioner of police Nisar Tamboli said. He rubbished rumours that the toll had gone up to five. Of the 63 injured, 36 were discharged while 27 are stable. Bandobast in the city has been increased and leaves of cops cancelled. 
    (With inputs from Sharad Vyas and Pratibha Masand)

FIERY PROTEST: A vehicle torched by rioters on Saturday

IN CUSTODY: Police plan to file a fresh case for recovery of damages


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