Mumbai: After two days of investigation into Saturday’s violence, police said it was a group of 36 youth who started the entire violence, while five of the 23 held have criminal connections. Police also said they have identified 14 people among the 60-70 youths who damaged public and private property and attacked policemen and media personnel.
“From the CCTV footage obtained from the railways, it appears that this group arrived by local trains and started ransacking the shops in the subway. They then proceeded to Azad Maidan. They did not enter the ground but picked up a fight with the policemen who were stationed outside, when they refused to let them in as the meeting had almost come to an end,” a police officer said.
Police said they are trying to find out whether they were instigated by any particular group to carry out violence.
Sources said the 14 who have been identified are from Kasaiwada in Kurla (E), Shivaji Nagar in Govandi and Mumbra in Thane and all of them were missing from their homes.
Police sources said they were identified with the help of community leaders, locals and informers using the CCTV footages. “We are looking for those who have been captured in the videos,” joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy said.
Meanwhile, the police have found that five of the 23 arrested have previous criminal records and have been called in at police stations for their role in rioting and assault cases. “One of the two deceased, Umer Shaikh, who was found dead near the CST railway station, had four cases against him. He was earlier involved in assault and rioting cases,” said a police source.
They said the rest of the 18 do not have any police records and their relatives claimed that they had gone to Azad Maidan to see the protest rally.
The special investigation team (SIT) that is probing the case has sent summons to 17 religious leaders, including a retired assistant commissioner of police Shamsher Khan Pathan, who were on the dias. SIT sources said though these 17 are not accused but their names have been mentioned in the FIR and police are scanning CCTV footages to find out if any of them gave any provocative speech that led to rioting and arson.
Highly placed sources said the home department is likely to reward all those policemen who took prompt action with gallantry awards. Sources said that police commissioner is now making a list of policemen, many of the lady constables, who did their duty without fear.
CM Chavan briefs PM, Sonia Gandhi
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and briefed them about the Mumbai violence. Chavan also sought assistance from the intelligence bureau to probe the role of foreign hand.
‘Crime branch free, so given probe’
Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik on Monday told media that the investigation of the Saturday’s violence was handed over to the crime branch as they are free and have no work. The crime branch has formed the special investigating team (SIT) to probe into it.
Few websites blocked
Police have blocked some social networking sites, including indianarmyfans. com, that were showing morphed pictures. “We have also written to Google and Facebook. There are rumours that it originated from Pakistan, but it has not been confirmed,” ACP Niket Kaushik said.
The Times of India, August 15, 2012