Mumbai: An OB (Outside Broadcasting) van of ABP News and some other TV channels were set ablaze as a silent protest against Myanmar, Assam clashes turned violent in Azad Maidan today in Mumbai.
Police had to use tear gas shells to disperse crowd. Angry protesters damaged TV camera equipments and also attacked media persons.
Police resorted to air firing and lathicharge to control the chaotic situation.
Two people have succumbed to injuries, according to latest reports from PTI.
According to Arup Patnaik, Mumbai Police Commissioner, some miscreants from the protesting crowd instigated the violence. Also, many police vehicles and BEST buses were torched.
At least 25,000 protestors were present at Azad Maidan at around 2.30pm. At around 3.15 the entire episode took a violent turn.
14 policemen, over three dozen others were injured as the mob got aggravated leading to uncontrollable scenes outside the ground. Also, 20 BEST buses were attacked along with an official vehicle of an IPS officer.
The injured have been taken to St George hospital, JJ hospital and to GT hospital. Two among the injured are reported to be critical. Three photo-journalists were also hurt during the incident.
"The situation is under control. I want to appeal to people to maintain peace and assist the police. Will order probe into the the violence," said RR Patil, home minister, Maharashtra.
Mumbai Police has issued a red alert in the city as major events like Independence Day and Eid are lined up.
The Home Ministry seeks report from Maharashtra govt about the violence. Home Ministry has told the Maharashtra government that if they need para-military forces, then they should immediately ask the union government and ensure that the violence should not spread to other areas.
"Media has acted ignorant on violence against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar. I condemn the violence that happened at Azad Maidan," said Abu Azmi, Samajwadi Party leader.
Led by Raza Academy, an organisation working to promote Islamic culture, the protest was supported by other organisations like Sunni Jamaitul Ulma and Jamate Raza-e-Mustafa. They also condemned the riots and violence in Assam.
Sporting black badges, hundreds of members and activists of these organisations, converged at the Azad Maidan and expressed concern over the massacre of the Muslim community.
Maulana Syed Moinuddin Ashraf, president of Jamia Qadriya Ashrafiya, has urged the the central and state governments to intervene.
"It is the responsibility of the Congress government to protect the Muslims, and for that matter each and every citizen," said the Maulana, who is also known as Moin Miyan.
"With regards to the massacre in Myanmar, we understand it is an external problem and that certainly should be taken care of, but what is happening in Assam reflects on the state of affairs of the country," he added.
"A large number of Muslims have been rendered homeless and are now living in camps," said Raza Academy chairman Saeed Noorie.
Noorie said they have already written to the government of Myanmar, the United Nations, the International Human Rights Organisation, Organisation of Islamic Countries, President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to highlight the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar.
(With IANS inputs)