Coronavirus outbreak: Mumbai police to investigate intelligence failure
Meanwhile, Bandra police arrest activist for provoking migrants and nine slum-dwellers for violating lockdown, question residents living nearby
The Mumbai police set up an internal enquiry on Wednesday to find out how exactly such a huge crowd gathered at Bandra railway station amid a lockdown on Tuesday. "Finding out what went wrong is part of our probe. Action will be taken if negligence is found on part of the police," a senior officer said on condition of anonymity.
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Wednesday, "Misinformation regarding the commencement of trains from April 14, 2020 was spread using 11 different methods. The accounts have been tracked, FIRs are being filed and due legal consequences will follow."
Meanwhile, Bandra police, which failed to gather intelligence about thousands of migrant workers gathering just 500 meters away from the police station and the zonal DCP's office, arrested a social and political activist, Vinay Dubey, in a connection with the protest outside Bandra railway station. Dubey, in a series of social media posts, had uploaded videos asking all migrants to gather on Tuesday. He has been booked under the Epidemic Disease Act and several other sections of the Indian Penal Code.
In the videos, Dubey is heard saying, "The government must arrange trains for us and allow us to go back to our homes. I will also walk with all of you if need."
"In addition to the videos, he also put up posts exhorting migrants to come out of their houses during the lockdown. The posts will be examined thoroughly," an officer said.
Bandra police discovered Dubey's posts after the protest ended. He was first detained by Navi Mumbai police and handed over to Mumbai police.
"We have registered three different FIRs in connection with the Bandra incident. In one of the cases, we have arrested Vinay Dubey and court has remanded him to police custody till April 21," said Abhishek Trimukhe, DCP Zone IX. The second FIR was against journalist Rahul Kulkarni from Marathi news channel ABP Majha. The third FIR is against over 1,000 people who participated in the gathering and violated the lockdown.
Sources said the police identified nine suspects for violating the lockdown and arrested them.
Three others were detained for questioning as police are visiting slums near Bandra railway station to question residents. The three were identified as Mohammad Vishwa Mohammad Ammaruddin, 38, Rauf Hussain Shaikh, 36, and Alam Mohammad Salim Shaikh, 28, all residents of Shastri Nagar, Bandra West. "I don't know why police took my son Shahid Shaikh. He is innocent. A police officer said they will question him regarding yesterday's incident but my son had only gone to find out why so many people have gathered," said Imran Shaikh, a resident of Shashtri Nagar. Another resident, Zamila Shaikh, said, "Police asked my son Rauf Shaikh to come to the police station. They are questioning him regarding yesterday's incident."
Charges against journalist Kulkarni false, says ABP Majha editor
ABP Majha editor Rajeev Khandekar on Wednesday decried the arrest of his colleague Rahul Kulkarni and said the charges against him were false. He said the news report was based on a letter that even the Congress leaders in New Delhi had used to demand special trains for migrants and stranded labourers.
"This is injustice to us and a blow to freedom of press. Our report didn't say anything about the timing or the day the trains would start, but stated that the Railways was thinking about operating trains to carry home migrants and labourers. The same letter was quoted by Congress leaders in New Delhi. Then, how could a state government of which the Congress is a partner, resort to such a step," he asked.
He asked why non-Marathi speaking people responded to their report and not the "rest of Maharashtra? Were any other railways stations in the state flooded by the people?" "Now, videos and other materials substantiate that there was something else behind the gathering. It is the matter of investigation now," he said.
Khandekar said the channel would fight the 'malicious' criminal changes slapped against its staffer who is known for his integrity and professionalism.
- Dharmendra Jore
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