A city court on Sunday extended the crime branch custody of the 23 persons arrested in connection with the August 11 violence at Azad Maidan here that left two youths dead and more than 50 persons, mostly policemen and women constables, seriously injured.
The Esplanade metropolitan court magistrate remanded the apprehended to police custody till August 24.
The agitation was organised by two radical city-based groups, the Raza Academy and the Madina tul ilm, protesting against the recent Assam riots and killings of Muslims in Myanmar.
The meeting erupted into an unbridled bout of violence and vandalism in which protesting youths burnt police and media vehicles, apart from damaging several buses and injuring police and media personnel.
The police have slapped charges of murder, attempted murder, dacoity, rioting, molestation and causing damage to property on the youths as they suspect that one of the two youngsters killed, Aftab Aktar Khan, 17, a resident from Kurla, was shot with bullets that did not come from a police weapon.
The Mumbai Crime Branch told the court that they were seeking the intent and motive behind the violence and attempting to trace other people involved in it.
The extension of custody was required as they were yet to recover one pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition, said the Crime Branch officials.
However, the defence lawyers said police custody was not necessary for interrogation and they may be remanded to judicial custody.
Speaking to The Hindu, defence counsel Wahab Khan said that none of the apprehended youths had featured in the CCTV footage retrieved by the investigating authorities and that they had been nabbed for trying merely to retrieve their abandoned vehicles from the spot of the violence.
On August 16, police also arrested a youth, identified as Salim Allarakha Choukiya (23), after a video clip showed him brandishing a police self-loading rifle (SLR) during the violent protests, which they believe was premeditated.
Two SLRs, 150 rounds of ammunition and a service pistol were looted by the mob. Police later recovered the SLRs and 29 rounds of ammunition.
Keywords: Mumbai violence case