The Mumbai Crime Branch has arrested 19 more youths in the Azad Maidan violence case, taking the total number to 43. Police said on Wednesday that they had substantial evidence to prove that all the arrested persons were involved in the riots on August 11, when a rally to protest violence against the “atrocities” on Muslims in Assam and Myanmar turned violent.
More arrests are likely as the police believe that 80-100 persons were involved in the rioting. The 19 arrests had been made since Tuesday, Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy told reporters here. All are residents of Mumbai and were picked up from Wadala, Govandi, Bandra, Kurla, Andheri.
The youths who desecrated the ‘Amar Jawan’ memorial are still at large.
“The violence was definitely premeditated. We intend to find out if there is a link among all the arrested persons. We need to find out who masterminded the violence,” Mr. Roy said.
Meanwhile, investigation has found that at least two of the five speakers at the rally, spoke aggressively. “We are taking legal opinion on whether the speeches can be categorised as incitement,” a senior police officer said.
For the past two days, the police have been recording the statement of Maulana Niyamat Noori, who was the first to address the crowd. “He is a maulana in a mosque in Bandra East. We are in the process of recording his statement. He does not have any previous record of cases against him,” Mr. Roy said.
The 19 arrested are – Niyazuddin Jaan Mohammad Sheikh (28), Mohammad Hussain Kamruddin Ansari (21), Alam Munazir Khan (22), Syed Yunus Syed Munawar (32), Mohammad Rizwan Mohammad Ismail (19), Mohammad Syed Aziz Idris (25), Liyaqat Hussain (24), Mohammad Imtiyaz (22), Mohammad Anees alias Kallu (25), Amir Yunus Sheikh (19), Ashraf Shirazul Haq (24), Hafeez Ahmed Sheikh (19), Mohammad Aqeeb alias Mulla (32), Parvez Ansari (22), Mohammad Akhtar Mustakhin Shiekh (30), Jawed Shakeel (25), Sheikh Mohammad Yusuf (32), Naushad Rafi Ahmed Khan (32), and Salil Mehtar Sheikh (32).
“All of them have been identified on the basis of evidence. We have analysed and cross-checked many times before making these arrests. Some of them even rioted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus while going back,” Mr. Roy said.
The police will also examine if any of them molested or manhandled women constables. All of them have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for grave crimes like murder, attempt to murder, and arson.
Keywords: Azad Maidan violence case