Mumbai violence: Police detain 23

Mumbai Police have started probing violence during a Muslim procession which left two dead and 100 injured.

Updated: Aug 13, 2012, 00:28 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: A day after violence during a Muslim procession here left two people dead and 100 injured, including 45 policemen, a police official on Sunday said that police have started probing the incident.

"We have set up a special team to investigate the entire incident and find out the causes and the people behind it," Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy told the media.

Roy said police were also studying the speeches of organisers to determine if they were provocative or inflammatory.

A news channel has, meanwhile, claimed that two rifles and one pistol belonging to police were stolen during clashes. Also, some women constables were allegedly molested.

CCTV records are being scanned to identify the rioters responsible for the violence which left half of Mumbai paralysed for several hours.

The trouble affected a two kilometre radius around Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, opposite which the Azad Maidan, the main venue of the Saturday procession, is situated.

Roy said the extent of damage to public and private property was being studied. He added that the organisers will be ordered to compensate for it as per the laws.

In a related development, police have detained 23 people from south Mumbai for the violence.

They are being interrogated to know their antecedents and role in the violence that erupted during the massive procession taken out by Muslim groups to condemn attacks on Muslims in Assam and Myanmar, police said.

The violence followed alleged provocative speeches made by some leaders who urged the media not to suppress the coverage of the "atrocities" on Muslims.

The Indian Express, a daily, meanwhile, reported that organisers of the event have admitted “irresponsible speech” that led to rioting.

Soon after the speech, a group of youths started attacking some journalists and police personnel and damaged public and private vehicles.

Taking the police and organisers by surprise, the attacks quickly spread, engulfing media, police, even some participants in the procession, vehicles and media vans.

At the final count, 49 BEST buses were damaged, 12 police vans were damaged, including three which were burnt, 50 private vehicles, including three OB vans of private TV channels, which were torched.

The final toll in yesterday`s violence was two dead and another 100 injured, including 45 policemen and three media persons, according to the City Disaster Control Centre.

The injured were rushed to public and private hospitals, of whom 34 have been discharged. The rest remain under treatment, officials said.

Security has been strengthened in Mumbai in the wake of yesterday’s violence.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has strongly condemned the violence at Azad Maidan, and ordered a crime branch probe into the violence that took place in the city.

Chavan, however, refused to blame the police of any mismanagement for the violence and said that the guardians of law did their job well.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had earlier asked people to maintain calm following the violent protest in Mumbai.

"I will talk to the Maharashtra Chief Minister," he said.

Home Minister RR Patil, who rushed to Mumbai on Saturday night, said all efforts would be made to nab those behind the incident.

Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded all over the state. Also, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and State Reserve Police (SRP) personnel have been requisitioned.

(With Agency inputs)