Muslim fanatics make a habit of fomenting trouble where none exists
The violent protests witnessed in Mumbai last week organised by Muslim organisations against Assam riots had all the makings of a pre-orchestrated and well planned riot. Led by Raza Academy, an organisation ostensibly working to promote Islamic culture, the protest was supported by other organisations like Sunni Jamait-ul-Ulma and Jamat-e-Raza-e-Mustafa. The protestors converged at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan to condemn the alleged attacks on Muslims in Myanmar.
Two persons died and 53 people, 45 of them policemen, were injured when mobs went on a rampage vandalising for nearly four hours. The mob torched one police van and one television channel's vehicle besides damaging six other police vehicles, 49 BEST buses, a couple of other outdoor broadcasting vans and numerous privately owned vehicles.
Usually Mumbai police intelligence works more efficiently in comparison to other metros and cities, more because the stakes are high being the financial capital of the country. But this time round the police was absolutely clueless on what was happening or what was planned. Over 400 youngsters from Muslim dominated suburban areas of Kurla and Mumbra were seen boarding local trains with lethal weapons. Some of the boys even carried haversacks for bringing kerosene and petrol to Azad Maidan and it is now becoming clear that the attacks were premeditated. Shiv Sena mouthpiece Samna in a no-holds-barred piece said that the violence was part II of 26/11 attack by Pakistani terror groups in Mumbai.
Though there are many claimants on how and why intelligence gathering failed so massively when the activities were going on for all to see, there are also many security experts who question the sanguine nature of Mumbai police for having sat over disturbing intelligence reports. Also, there are videos now being posted on networking sites which show protestors snatching guns from the police and brandishing them while firing in the air during the riots. If that were the case then the preparedness of the police is itself questionable.
The permission was for 1,500 people to assemble at the Azad Maidan ground but over 20,000 people gathered within minutes of slated time. In spite of the violent methods used on that day the media coverage has been quite sanitized. There’s no naming names, real culprits are not even listed, while discussions ramble on “lumpen elements taking to the streets”. Many of the reports don’t even want to quote the religious nature of gathering or the people suspected to be behind it. On the networking sites the first reaction was of the incredulity of reportage in media. “Would the media coverage been the same if the middle class or Hindu groups had even taken to the streets?” was the most frequently asked question.
One even wonders if the protestors knew what or where Myanmar is on the world map and what the issues are on the Indo-Bangladesh border. The police though claims that they are not under any political pressure or state government officials, the muted reaction to the large scale violence and vandalism only leads to the obvious conclusion that protestors can be forgiven for their crime depending on the current political dispensation.