PIL urges probe into Azad Maidan riots



Mumbai: A PIL Wednesday urged the Bombay High Court to order a police inquiry into the riots which broke out at Azad Maidan here during a demonstration staged by Raza Academy on August 11 to protest against alleged atrocities on Muslims in Burma and Assam.

The PIL, filed by two city journalists, also sought a direction to the organisers of the demonstration to pay compensation or damages to the affected persons who were targetted in the riots on that day.

The petition, filed by Sanket Satope and Uday Joshi, alleged that media vans and private vehicles were torched outside the venue of the demonstration and Municipal buses were damaged. Besides, women constables were molested and mediapersons beaten up. Amar Jawan Jyoti was also vandalised.

Although police has arrested 53 persons, there has been absolutely no action for recovering losses and damages from the organisers of the event, the PIL said.

The state government and other authorities have adopted an attitude of soft-pedalling and discrimination in favour of persons and organisers who allegedly orchestrated the riots, the PIL, which would come up for hearing in due course, it contended.

The petition said the riots had shattered the faith of people and policemen in the system and there is an urgent need for the Court to intervene in public interest under its extra-ordinary writ jurisdiction to issue directions to the authorities to restore the people's confidence.

The PIL referred to media reports which said the rioters had carried with them stones, iron rods, hockey sticks and petrol from different parts of the city to the venue of the demonstration and that they were not stopped by police.

PTI