The Mumbai Crime Branch has concluded that the riots in the city’s Azad Maidan area on August 11 were a conspiracy. Based on leads, the agency is now looking for a few dozen persons, for their involvement in the riots. The police are looking, on a priority basis, for the two persons who desecrated the Amar Jawan memorial.

The police will now try to ascertain if Saturday’s riots were part of a larger conspiracy in which students from the north-eastern States are being targeted in Pune district. “We will examine if there was any conspiracy for co-ordinating the attacks here and in Pune,” Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy, said here on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the police have blocked a few websites carrying provocative, morphed photographs and have written to Facebook and Google, requesting them to take down the objectionable content immediately.

“The page ‘Indian Army Fans’ had received 1.2 lakh hits within 24 hours after the riots. It felt like a mini-riot broke out between the two communities on the internet, after the riots. We have blocked that page,” Mr. Roy said.

“We have collected lot of data — CCTV footage, photographs, footage from many camerapersons. We are piecing it together area-wise. We will give this information to our informant networks. We will show the footage to local policemen. Our priority is to catch the Amar Jawan desecration accused,” he said.

“It [violence] was premeditated. We have recovered knives, one pistol [not the stolen police service revolver], four-five rounds, iron rods, bamboos, hammers, empty cans containing traces of kerosene and petrol.”

The police summoned 17 organisers of the protest rally, including the former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Shamsher Khan Pathan, whose organisation Awami Vikas Party participated in the protest.

According to official sources, the names of the other 16 organisers whose roles are being examined by the police are: Maulana Niyamat Noori, Guddu Bhaiyya, Maulana Akhtar Ali, Maulana Amanullah Barkati, Maulana Gulam Abdul Kadri, Mohammad Saeed Noori, Maulana Syed Moinmiyan Ashrafi, Maulana Syed Siraj Akhtar, Mustafa Ibrahim Kapadia, S.S. Alwariya, Maulana Naimtulla Noorisaab, Syed Khalid Ashraf Azharali, Ibrahim Bhaijaan, Khalid Mamu, Rizwan Khan and Mussaddi Khan alias Aslam P.H.

Murder charges

Replying to a question, Mr. Roy said all the 23 accused were booked under the Indian Penal Code Section 302, which pertains to murder. “No bullets were found in the bodies of the deceased. They had bullet injuries,” he said.

A senior police official said the rioters abducted a police constable during the violence.

“When the violence was going on and the police tried to stop them, these people lifted a police constable and took him away with them. We immediately launched a search for him and he was found in a badly injured condition around half a kilometre away from the spot,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.