Police suspect provocative speeches were made at Azad Maidan

At least four persons are suspected to have made provocative speeches at Azad Maidan, police said on Tuesday.

Updated: Aug 14, 2012, 23:12 PM IST

Mumbai: At least four among over a dozen prominent persons, who were on dais at Azad Maidan, where a sit-in protest turned violent on Saturday, are suspected to have made provocative speeches, police said on Tuesday.

As many as 17 prominent persons, including Muslim religious leaders and retired Assistant Police Commissioner- turned-politician Shamsheer Pathan, have been named in an FIR filed at Azad Maidan Police Station in connection with the violence. However, they have not been named as accused in the case, police said.

These people would be summoned to record their statements to enable investigators to examine their role, if any, in the incident, in which two persons were killed, said a senior official of Crime Branch, which is probing the riots.

Maulana Niyamat Noori, Guddu Bhaiyya, Maulana Aktar Ali and Maulana Amanulla Barkati are suspected to have made provocative speeches from the stage, the official said.

"The investigating team has the video of speeches made from the stage. Once we go through the video, we would be in a position to conclude if they were provocative in nature. The conduct of the 13 others too was being examined. Subsequently, we will decide the next course of action."

Besides hammers, knives and empty cans (said to be of kerosene), a pistol that did not belong to police were seized from the riot spot in South Mumbai, the official said.

Mumbai Police`s Cyber Cell was in possession of morphed images that instigated the mob. Several Internet sites that talked about the violence and might foment trouble in future had been blocked, he said.

At least 52 persons, including 44 policemen and some media persons, were injured in the violence during the rally which was organised to denounce ethnic riots in Assam. As many as 23 alleged rioters have been arrested on charges of murder, molestation and kidnapping.