Mumbai: Two people
were killed and over 50, including 41 policemen, injured as a
protest by several Muslim organisations to condemn the alleged
attacks on Muslims in Myanmar and the Assam riots turned violent,
officials said. An alert has been sounded in the city.
"Two people are reported dead in St George Hospital (in south
Mumbai) and the over 50 injured are being treated in hospitals
here," an official from the disaster management cell told IANS.
Of the 52 injured, 41 are policemen, the official added.
Those killed have been identified as Mohammed Umar, 22, and Altaf
A photographer from Sakal Times, Prashant Sawant, 50, was also
seriously injured in the violence along with at least three other
Terming the situation "delicate", the city police chief said that
a red alert has been issued.
"The holy month of Ramzan is on. Considering there were serial
blasts in Pune recently, and that the Independence Day is also
coming up, we have issued a red alert in the city until the
situation is entirely under control," Mumbai Police Commissioner
Arup Patnaik told media persons here.
Over 25,000 members and activists of several Muslim organisations
Saturday staged a protest at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai to
protest alleged attacks on Muslims in Myanmar and the Assam riots.
Led by Raza Academy, an organisation working to promote Islamic
culture, the protest to condemn the alleged attacks on Muslims in
Myanmar was supported by other organisations like Sunni Jamaitul
Ulma and Jamate Raza-e-Mustafa. They also condemned the riots and
violence in Assam.
"The situation got out of control as a group of protesters turned
aggressive at around 3.15 p.m. I personally spoke to a few of them
who were on the dais and requested them to maintain calm," Patnaik
However, the group had already started pelting stones on city
buses and started setting media and police vans on fire. Patnaik
said that around 10 buses and six vans were damaged.
Policemen had made a baton charge to disperse the mob. They also
fired in air and immediately cordoned off the area.
Asked whether the lack of proper security led to the incident,
Patnaik said that the security at Azad Maidan was proper.
"There were enough policemen at the ground and there was no lapse
in security system. However, an angry mob has to be handled with
tact and use of force often worsens the situation and hence the
policemen did not use force," he said.
The violence, however, affected the local train services on the
harbour and central lines. Traffic jams were also seen on roads
leading to southern and south central parts of the city.
Opposition parties hit out at the government for the violence.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday said that the attack was
a apt example of how the state government has no hold over the
deteriorating law and order situation in the city.
"We condemn the attack on media persons and on duty policemen.
However, police should have anticipated violence during an event
that had a huge gathering," a BJP spokesperson said.
Republican Party of India (RPI) chief Ramdas Athawale also
condemned the attack.
The Mumbai Press Club alleged that the violence broke out after a
Muslim cleric verbally attacked the media for not covering the
atrocities in Myanmar and Assam.
"According to eyewitnesses, a maulana in his speech verbally
attacked the media, claiming that the atrocities in Assam and
Burma were deliberately not being covered by the press. This
incensed the crowd which turned against photographers and TV crews
on and around the Maidan," the Press Club said in a statement.
It also demanded that the government immediately order an enquiry
to determine how the violence erupted and punish those responsible