8 injured, 3 Mumbai cops hurt in clash at Bhiwandi

3 cops hurt after mob sets police vehicles on fire, stone police chowky

Police personnel keep vigil following the clash last night at Gayatri Nagar in Bhiwandi. Pics/Sameer Markande
Police personnel keep vigil following the clash last night at Gayatri Nagar in Bhiwandi. Pics/Sameer Markande

A riot broke out between two groups at Gayatri Nagar in Bhiwandi last night in which at least eight people were injured, three of them police officers. Officials from Shanti Nagar Police Station, who were on bandobast duty, had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the agitated mob. In the immediate aftermath, angry mobsters attacked and threw stones at the Shanti Nagar Police Chowky, as well as burnt a police motorcycle and two jeeps.

How it started
Around 4 pm, a tall tazia that was a part of a Muharram procession passing through Gayatri Nagar, caused some damage to one of the arches that had been erected outside a temple for Navratri. “Someone started throwing stones at the procession," an eyewitness said. Police authorities on standby immediately intervened and lathi-charged the crowd, managing to keep them apart – but only briefly. “When it was getting dark at around 7 pm, another procession that was passing by the same spot was stopped by a group of boys. That’s when all hell broke loose – stones were hurled at each other and the arches were broken.”

Police vehicles were stoned and set on fire and both civilians and cops were injured in the incident
Police vehicles were stoned and set on fire and both civilians and cops were injured in the incident

Soon videos of the clash started doing the rounds on social media and agitated mobsters started damaging police property, alleging inaction by the authorities. A beat marshal’s motorcycle was burnt, and eventually exploded, causing 42 per cent burns to three officers. “People started hurling stones at the police chowky as well,” said a 42-year-old eyewitness. "They broke windows of vehicles and set two police cars on fire as well."

Authorities speak
According to ACP Meghrajan, by 10 pm, a force of around 150 officers, along with the designated DCP, ACP, Additional Commissioner of Police (Thane), and four Senior Police Inspectors, managed to bring “peace” to the neighbourhood. “A peace committee meeting was held from 11 pm to 12.30 am,” he said. It was attended by people of both the communities as well as MP Kapil Patil and CP (Thane) Parambir Singh. “We are in the process of registering two cases at Shanti Nagar Police Station, under sections 307, 143, 432, as well as for assaulting a police officer and attempting to murder."

”The scuffle broke out at Gayatri Nagar on Wednesday evening, when a Muharram procession was returning to the area," said Additional Commissioner of Police (Thane) ps Patankar (West region, Thane). “Police personnel had to begin lathi charge on the mob to disperse them. Three police officers were injured."

3
No. of policemen injured

500
No. of people in the mob 

150
No. of cops on the spot

A bloody history

Termed by many as one of the worst cases of rioting since partition, the 1970 Bhiwandi riots were an instance of anti-Mulsim violence that occurred between 7th and 8th May in the township of Bhiwandi, as well as adjoining regions of Mahad and Jalgaon. More than 250 people were killed lost in the 48-hour span. A commission was formed following the incident, which submitted a report highly critical of the police authorities for their failure to prevent the riots. In 1984, a riot broke out again in the region after a saffron flag was placed at the top of a mosque. 278 people were killed, and 1,118 were wounded (reportedly). In 2006, two police constables were lynched and their bodies set on fire, in the aftermath of two Muslim boys being shot at by police authorities.

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