Riots broke out in the old Ahmedabad on Wednesday afternoon after participants in a rally against the controversial film Innocence of Muslims turned violent.
The affected areas included Muslim-dominated places like Lal Darwaja, Teen Darwaja, Relief Road, Shahpur, Dariyapur among others. Difference of opinion within the community regarding the protest is said to have triggered the violence.
According to details, an activist, Zarina Khan had approached Karanj police on Tuesday seeking permission to take out a rally in the old city in protest against the film. (She has since been arrested.) The permission was denied at that time.
In a meeting on Tuesday night, Mufti Shabbir Alam Siddiqi, the imam of Juma Masjid, spoke out against the need for a rally saying that since the film had already been banned in the country, there was no need for further protest.
However, on Wednesday, around 12:30pm, the protestors gathered at Sardar Baug and went ahead with the rally. They went to Juma Masjid where nearly 2,000 people gheraoed the imam.
The police constable on duty there tried to intervene but got surrounded by the protestors. They even abused and attacked him. At that point, the imam called up police control room. Cops immediately rushed to the spot and lathicharged at the mob to disperse them.
Some of the protestors moved towards Relief Road and the rest towards Karanj. Enroute, others too joined the rally. The angered mob set ablaze the police chowky at Khas Bajaar near Teen Darwaja besides 12 vehicles. The police fired 30 tear gas shells to control the mob. In retaliation, the mob attacked them with a pipe bomb. Five police officials were injured in the incident. There are even unconfirmed reports of three rounds of firing by the police.
More than 1,000 police personnel including the staff from various police stations reached the spot along with two companies of State Reserve Police.
They all managed to control the mob. Meanwhile, Ajay Tomar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Sector 1), Himanshu Shukla, DCP, DCB and Nirlipt Rai, ACP, DCB, and other officers too reached the spot.
More than 100 people have been detained. Till the time of going to press, the situation in the old city was tense. There was a curfew-like atmosphere in sensitive areas like Shahpur, Dariyapur and Lal Darwaja. Almost half of Ahmedabad was closed due to the riots.