Saturday, September 1, 2012

Legal opinion sought on organizers’ role in riot


Cops To Verify If Speeches At Rally Were Provocative 


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Three weeks after a mob went on the rampage in south Mumbai on August 11—for which 55 have been arrested, two of them for vandalizing the Martyrs’ Memorial—the police now seem to be going after the rally organizers. Besides finding out if the speeches at the gathering— the riot allegedly broke out at that time —were provocative, the police are also gunning for the rioters who allegedly molested women constables posted at the site.
    Till now, the organizers have not been made an accused in the FIR. “The police are finding out from legal experts if some of the speeches provoked the crowd and started the riot. It’s too early to say anything as the police have not got a legal opinion on booking the organizers as accused,” said a senior police officer. The crime branch has summoned all the 17 people who were present on the stage during the rally. “We have recorded the statements of most of the people and are recording that of the organizers. We are corroborating their words with the facts and information gathered by the police,” said a source. 
A senior officer said they would decide on the next course of action depending on the legal experts’ reports. “If it is found out that anyone among the organizers did play a vital role, he will be made an accused at a later stage. We don’t want to name anyone now,” a senior officer said. “The two held for vandalizing the memorial had no connection between themselves. We suspect that the violence was pre-planned. We are taking down the statements of witnesses and collecting more evidence,” said crime branch head Himangshu Roy. 

    The rally, held in protest against alleged violence against the Muslim community in Assam and Myanmar, was called by a non-registered NGO, Madina-tul-Ilm, run by a Kurla resident, Rizwan Khan. The demonstration was supported by another non-registered NGO, Raza Academy, and several other NGOs. 
“The youngsters outside Azad Maidan began manhandling the media crew even as a speaker accused the media for ignoring the Muslims’ plight,” the source said. Even as the mob went on to assault policemen, vandalize everything that came their way and one stole a police rifle, several of the rioters allegedly molested at least six women constables deployed at the site. “We have formed a separate team to probe the molestation angle and included female officers. It’s a sensitive investigation and we are taking measures to make it a watertight case,” said Roy. According to a source, the police plan to approach the home department, asking it to run the trial in a fast track court.
Raj raps Bihar chief secy over arrest row  
Ambarish Mishra TNN  
Mumbai: MNS chief Raj Thackeray on Friday warned that every person from Bihar staying in Mumbai will be bundled out if the Bihar government created hurdles in the arrest of the August 11 rioters. 

    Raj slammed Bihar chief secretary Navin Kumar for opposing the latest visit of the Mumbai crime branch to Patna to arrest a person wanted in the rampage. Kumar had recently written to state chief secretary Jayantkumar Bhantia, saying the Mumbai police should not visit Bihar to arrest anyone without prior intimation to the government there. Kumar reportedly sent asimilar letter to police chief Satya Pal Singh. 
“Every Bihari staying in Mumbai will be bundled out if the Bihar government doesn’t withdraw the chief secretary’s letter. I am accused of indulging in divisive politics. My detractors tell me that every Indian has a right to go to any place in the country. By the same token, cops from any part of India can go to any other part to arrest a criminal,” said Raj, addressing a party conclave at Ravindra Natya Mandir. “The Bihar chief secretary shouldn’t impede the process of investigations by the Mumbai police.” Home minister R R Patil told the media that the police had to follow certain procedures when visiting another state. “If the rules were not abided by in this case, we will look into it,” he said.
    Raj also reiterated his demand for Patil’s resignation. “The anti-national miscreants robbed the constables of their guns. The home department isn’t taking any action. Patil has no right to continue as the home minister.”

The Times of India, September 1, 2012

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