The Thane police have ordered an inquiry into the alleged detention of 80 Muslim men in a combing operation on Thursday night. They were allegedly rounded up from Rashid Compound in Mumbra on the outskirts of Mumbai as a precaution to prevent law and order problems before the polls.

Mr. Obaid Azmi, one of the detainees who was later released, told The Hindu that the police detained them until Friday morning.

“I was returning home when I saw a huge police deployment outside my building. As soon as I entered my building I was asked by a policeman to sit in a van. They took us to the local police station and we were released only by 5 am on Friday,” Mr. Azmi told The Hindu.

“The manner in which we were taken into custody was humiliating,” added Mr. Azmi.

Police sources have told The Hindu that the combing operation was undertaken as a part of the routine exercise undertaken during the election period.

Lawyer and activist Shehzad Poonwala has lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) and the National Commission for Minorities alleging high handedness by the police.

“The detainees were working professionals, old people, some as old as 75 years, workers, students going to high schools , graduate students”, said Mr. Poonawala.

After the media outcry, the police ordered a probe.