Following the riot-like situation in south Mumbai on Saturday afternoon, commissioner of police Arup Patnaik said a group of miscreants had circulated provocative photographs among the protestors that led to the violence.
The crime branch has been asked to investigate the matter.
“Raza Academy and a few other organisations had a meeting at Azad Maidan on Saturday to discuss and condemn the Assam and Burma violence. We were prepared and joint commissioner of police, law and order, Rajnish Seth was camping at the spot,” said Patnaik.
He said while the organisers were inside Azad Maidan, a group of miscreants circulated some provocative photographs within the crowd.
“This group then started hitting policemen, came out on the roads and started vandalising the OB vans of television channels, public transport vehicles and private vehicles. I rushed to the spot at 3.04pm and found that the situation was really bad. When the police were beaten by the mob, they too went aggressive on them,” he admitted.
Patnaik said he then went on the stage and told the organisers to bring the situation under control immediately. “I made an appeal to the public to setttle down and reminded them that in 1992, following the Babri Masjid incident, riots had taken place in Mumbai. People were probably apprehensive that if they would come out of the Azad Maidan area, the police would beat them up. I assured them no harm would come to them and the situation then gradually came under control.”
Asked whether the incident was premeditated, he said, “It is too premature to say whether it was a premeditated incident. The crime branch has been asked to investigate into the incident. They will pick up the people involved, record statements and bring the culprits to book.”
Asked whether there was a failure of intelligence on part of police, Patnaik refused comment. “There was adequate police bandobast at the spot. This act was probably done by miscreants.”
The police will also investigate into how fuel was brought to the area and used in torching vehicles and sticks to assault people by the mob.