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