Mumbai: The organizers of Saturday’s rally to protest the killing of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar apologized to the city police and the media for the violence at Azad Maidan. The organizers demanded strict action against those who went on a rampage after the rally.
Religious leader Moin Miya, who addressed the gathering on Saturday, told TOI, “We went there for a peaceful protest against the genocide of Muslims. Our intention was to conduct dua (prayers) during Ramzan for them. However, some anti-social elements came there and began creating problems.
We demand strict action against the culprits.” Police permission for the protest had been sought by a Kurla-based social worker, Rizwan Khan.
Saeed Noori, general secretary of Raza Academy, one of the chief organizers of the protest, said, “Most of the youngsters did not enter the ground but vented their frustration on media personnel, which is very sad.”
Three vans belonging to news channels and several other vehicles were set on fire. Some media persons were also manhandled by the mob. Ex-Congress MLA Yusuf Abrahani said that the youngsters shouldn’t have taken the law in their hands. “We apologize to the media and the Mumbai police for this mess,” said Abrahani. Condemning the violence, Abrahani added that the crowd was divided into two groups. “While the mob outside the ground was not interested in coming in, the crowd present inside the ground did not even know what was happening outside,” he added.
Congresss MLA Amin Patel, who conducted a meeting with the organizers, appealed for peace and said, “It’s an attempt to tarnish the image of Muslims. Everything has been recorded on camera. Let the police do its job and let us cooperate with them. We demand that the cops identify the culprits and book them for what they did.”
Deobandi group had cancelled its rally
Fearing a violent reaction, a group of Deobandi Muslims had on Saturday aborted a rally slated for Monday, hours before the rally by Sunni Muslim groups led by Raza Academy ended in displays of wanton violence. The Deobandi group announced the cancellation of Monday’s rally at Azad Maidan on Saturday through ads in Urdu newspapers.
The Times of India, August 13, 2012