Mumbai: At least two people were killed and 55 others were injured, including 45 policemen, on Saturday as a protest at Mumbai's Azad Maidan against the Assam riots and alleged attacks on Muslims in Myanmar turned violent.
Among the injured were some mediapersons. All injured were shifted to J J Hospital, St George Hospital, GT Hospital and Bombay Hospital, police said.
Hundreds of protesters, sporting black badges, belonging to several Muslim organisations were gathered at the Azad Maidan Ground in south Mumbai on a call given by a city-based outfit, Raza Academy, an organisation which claims to work for promoting Islamic culture.
The agitation was supported by other organisations like Sunni Jamaitul Ulma and Jamate Raza-e-Mustafa. Awami Vikas Party (AVP), a political outfit floated by former police officer Shamsher Khan Pathan, also took part in the protest.
During the demonstrations, the protesters turned unruly, police said. They indulged in stone-pelting, set fire to several vehicles, including OB (Outside Broadcast) vans of three private news channels, reports said.
Police had to resort to lathi-charge and opened fire in the air to disperse the violent crowd.
The situation is currently under control, said IG Law and Order, Mumbai.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said in a statement that the Crime Branch has been asked to probe "whose hand was behind the violence and how the protest turned so violent".
Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil while talking to Zee News appealed people to maintain peace.
Several suburban train services were briefly disrupted and road traffic was also affected due to the unrest.
Azad Maidan Ground, a regular venue for protests, is located near Mumbai civic body headquarters and CST Mumbai railway station. The bustling area wore a deserted look as policemen cordoned off the locality and patrolled the streets.
Meanwhile, Raza Academy distanced itself from the violence.
"While we were protesting at the ground, some people got aggressive and started behaving violently," Mohammed Saeed, general secretary of Raza Academy said.
"We never encourage violence and strongly condemn such acts," he added.
First Published: Saturday, August 11, 2012, 15:35