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Azad Maidan riot caused by SMS, not speech: Cops

The Mumbai Crime Branch (CB) filed a chargesheet in the Azad Maidan case yesterday and the police said that they would not be arresting any of the organisers, as they found no link between the speeches given by them and the violence on August 11.

The 3,384-page chargesheet named two persons, who circulated SMSes of the rally, as the main conspirators. The CB filed the chargesheet containing statements of 851 witnesses in the court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate PS Rathod.


Painful price to pay: On August 11, 92 people were injured, of which 76 were policemen, after violence erupted during a rally held at Azad Maidan. File pic

Yusuf Ahmed Hussain Khan (25) and Sayed Salim Anwar Pasha alias Saleem Lightwala (40) have been named as the main conspirators for the violence that erupted during the rally. Also, Khan was in touch with people from Burma before and after the incident.

The CB arrested 63 people in connection with the incident so far, and while five were released since their role could not be proved in the violence, 45 others got bail and 13 are in judicial custody. So far the CB has not been able to establish a foreign hand or underworld link in the violence.

“In all 92 people were injured, of which 76 were policemen, four journalists and 10 citizens,” said joint commissioner of police Himanshu Roy.

Roy added that the total loss incurred due to the violence was close to Rs 3 crore. “Damage to public property amounted to Rs 36.44 lakh and damage to private property was around Rs 2,37,84,000,” he said.

The CB officials said that they would be sending a copy of the chargesheet to the collector and will request him to recover the damages from the organisers. The 3,384-page charge sheet lists 851 witnesses, of whom 736 are government servants, 86 are citizens and 29 are journalists who were covering the incident. So far, the police have carried out 47 panchanamas of the damages.

“Footage from media organisations, CST railway station and TV channels and the police helped to arrest those involved in the violence,” said a police officer.

The CB has so far found no involvement of a foreign hand or underworld instigation behind the violence. After Khan, who was in touch with people in Burma, was arrested and based on the overseas visits made by the organisers, the police had initially suspected a foreign hand in the violence. However, they have not been able to establish that angle as a fact.

“We could not prove that the violence had begun after the speeches, since the violence had already started outside Azad Maidan while the organisers were speaking. So we have not arrested any of the speakers,” said a source from the CB.

Commissioner of Police Dr Satypal Singh had said during an event that murder charges could be dropped in the Azad Maidan violence case. However, the CB will decide on this issue only after the ballistic report comes in.

The CB has also arrested four persons for molesting women police constables during the ruckus.

3,384
Number of pages in the chargesheet

Rs 3 crore
Total loss incurred due to the violence

851
Number of witnesses in the case

76
Number of policemen injured in the turmoil 

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