Mumbai Bagh protests: Cops pose as deliverymen to serve protesters notice
Amid rising allegations of intimidation of those distributing and delivering food and water to the anti-CAA protesters at Mumbai Bagh, police slap banana seller with notice under CrPC Section 149
A day after cracking down on the Mumbai Bagh protesters, the police are now going after fruit sellers and locals distributing food and water to the anti-CAA demonstrators on Morland Road.
The police on Thursday served notices to several people under the CrPC and warned that they would be held equally responsible if something goes wrong at Mumbai Bagh. A local fruit seller, Ayyaz Shaikh, told mid-day that he was served notice under Section 149 (police to prevent cognizable offences) of Code Of Criminal Procedure on Thursday for selling bananas to one of the visitors, who wanted to distribute the fruit among protesters on Sunday. Shaikh fears he may face police action after the protest is over.
Most of the vendors who had been distributing food and water to the Mumbai Bagh demonstrators have stopped coming fearing police crackdown, said a protester. The police's intimidation tactic seems to be working even as the number of the demonstrators has come down to 60 per cent now.
Fruit seller Ayyaz Shaikh fears he may face police action after the protest at Mumbai Bagh is over
The police are not only serving notices to the protesters and the vendors, but also to those who extended their support to the Mumbai Bagh women. "Notices are being given randomly to those who came there to express solidarity with the protesters," said advocate Sundeep Narwani, who has been approached by a few protesters for legal help.
A protester told mid-day that the police are collecting contact details by showing photographs to people on the site.
Shashank Shekhar, another protester, said the police came to his rented house in Prabhadevi pretending to be a delivery person. Those whose address weren't available with the police got the notice through WhatsApp.
Shamsher Khan Pathan
The police have also sent a notice under Section 107 (security for keeping the peace in other cases) of the CrPC to one of the protest organisers, Ali Bhojani. "The interesting fact is the police reached Haji Ali to enquire about me. One of the Haji Ali trustees, Suhail Khandwani, is my business partner. They questioned Khandwani instead of coming to my house," he said.
Shamsher Khan Pathan, who retired as assistant commissioner of Mumbai police in 2012, also alleged that the police are harassing protesters. He said the police have served a notice under CrPC Section 149 to him as well.
"What's the point of serving notices to them? This is not the NCP-Shiv Sena government, it is still Fadnavis government because the food and water distributors are being asked by the police, 'who is funding for the food and water?' I have told all those distributing food and water to take my name in case any cop tries to bully them," said Pathan.
Since the police started intimidating the protesters, close to 90 per cent of them have faced action, said Tohaa Qureshi, one of the organisers. Mubashira Qureshi, a protester, said, "The crowd that you are seeing right now is almost 60 percent of the actual crowd who had come in the beginning."
Senior police officers are tight-lipped about the allegations made by the protesters.
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