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Mumbai violence: Spontaneous or pre-planned?

Tuesday August 14, 2012 03:35:56 PM, Danish Reyaz

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The Azad Maidan rampage was an accident or a pre-planed attack on Media and police personnel? Could that be only an incident that exploded suddenly. But go through the SMS which was circulated amongst Muslims in last few days, the message was “A protest has been organized against “killing of innocent Muslim in Myanmar/Burma & Assam” with High Media Coverage. On Saturday 11th Aug.1 pm at Azad Maidan,Nr VT station, plz join us for the sake….also forward this message to the friends……..”

Being a media person I was curious about “High Media Coverage” because I had not received any invitation from that group which had called the agitation that day. I was also surprised as to how they would arrange “High Media Coverage”.

But during the incident we saw that three O.B. vans of TV channels were burnt, nearly as dozen photo journalists were beaten and injured. Two persons were killed and a large number of policemen and public property was destroyed. And after all a small group protesters bring high attention and “High Media Coverage”.

Feroze Mithiborwala, President Bharat Bachao Andolan says, “The incident which happened at Azad Maidan is a blot on the entire community. Media Vans and police men were attacked and their vehicles damaged...Is this a way to protest? Is this Islam? Due to the actions of a few rash elements the whole community will be labeled .Do not these idiots realise that all the sympathy that they had generated through the protest has been washed away?


"Raza academy has a lot to answer for. Earlier too in Bhiwandi, Thane district two youth had lost their lives at a similar instance of mob violence instigated by Raza Academy. There is a pattern here & they must be exposed now. We need to demand that the organizers are arrested immediately.”

The facts may or may not come out after the official inquiries as to what actually happened during the flare-up but can we ignore any political role? In Maharshtra, NCP and Congress strengthen shadow boxing has become everyday affair. The drama is played on open stage. Both coalition partners are gone berserk focusing on Muslim vote banks. It is said that Moin Miyan Ashrafi Al Jilani (one of the spiritual leader of Sunni Muslim) is very close to NCP and Home Minister R.R.Patil frequently visited his Madrasa. It is further rumoured that Maulana Moin Miyan is trying to get Rajya Sabha ticket through NCP.

Farid Shaikh President Mumbai Aman Committee says, “We had called the agitation on 13th August but when Moin Miyan and Raza Academy announced their protests separately, we contacted them and convinced them for a joint program. However, they refused and informed us that they would protest on 11th August. After realizing that they are not cooperating, we called off our protest”.

According to Farid Shaikh, “We warned them that people would come in large numbers and it would be tough for you, so please maintain control. But when we saw that youth were coming with “lathis” and “hathoda”; also they were managing to procure petrol then our sixth sense alarm went on and it was apparent that there was a plan to attack the police and media.”

Salim Alware, Convener Awami Vikas Party says, “Moin Miyan is a part of political conflict and he is struggling to get a Rajya Sabha nomination by NCP. So we can’t ignore that angle also.”

Nizamuddin Rayeen, President Mumbai Congress Minority Cell says, “We had Iftar party at Hajj house near CST Station where Muslims were to join us for Iftar which was organized by Congress Party. But when we saw the rampage of protesters in such fury, we cancelled the Congress Iftar.”

M.B.Qasmi General Secretary Markazul Maarif and spokesperson AIUDF says “One wrong doing must not justify another wrong-- what is happening in Assam is wrong but resorting to violent protest the protestors are not helping the victims in Assam nor in Myanmar.”

But he denies any political hand for the incident saying, “I have no idea about any political hand behind Azad Maidan incidence.”

Abu Asim Azmi President Samajwadi Party says, “The rampage was not justified, I condemn with strong words because there is no way for any violence. But this is also true that police forces opened fires on innocent. Those youths who were killed in the incident were not part of the protesters. One of them was going for Ramzan shopping, and another was sitting on BEST bus, and one was on J.J. Flyover when police opened fire.”

“Actually this happened because media were not showing Muslim issues especially Assam and Myanmar killing of Muslims. Media is also playing double role and their sympathy was not with Muslims. This is the anger why the youth attacked the Media", he alleged.

Earlier Ghulam Muhammed, media activist had tweeted: “If Congress government in Mumbai allows police to shoot at Muslims on the rampage, why can't another Congress Government in Assam allow police to shoot Bodos when they go on rampage in Assam killing Muslims?


"There was widespread Muslim reaction to police shooting. The attack on Police can hardly be attributed to mob. The mob has not so seasoned in Mumbai to take on Police in such a rakish manner. The attempt by even Muslim community, ruptured by internecine upman-ship, to rush to condemn their own members, without grasping the logistics of the mob violence that is not the hallmark of Muslim crowd."

The Mumbai Press Club also demanded that the Maharashtra government should immediately order an inquiry to determine how the violence erupted and punish those responsible for it. Action must also be taken against those police officers who allowed the situation to become uncontrollable. The club also demanded the cost of damage to lives and limbs and to the media equipment be recovered from the perpetrators of the violence.

An analysis by a knowledgeable source, noted that the boys who first attacked OB vans, with lathis, were not wearing caps that other protestors were wearing. Those could have been non-Muslim political party workers. They did appear to be trained agent provocateurs, that could only be from organised political parties, as common Muslim either with Raza Academy or with Moin Minyah is not familiar with this kind of violent protest.


Besides, there was no reason for Muslims to attack the media, unless those unleashing the initial attack were afraid that their identities will be captured on the cameras.



Danish Reyaz is a Mumbai based journalist. He can be contacted


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