The situation remained grim in Athwa lines area of Surat city in Gujarat, after a group of Muslims, who tried to take out a rally against the alleged mob-lynching incident of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand, went on a rampage on July 5.
In the recent development, the Surat police have made 40 fresh arrests in the case in which an unruly Muslim mob, despite being denied permission by authorities, proceeded with the rally and thereafter pelted stones at police officers leaving 4-5 officers injured. The mob had also damaged several vehicles parked in the area.
Earlier 9 people were arrested in connection to this case. PI of Athwa lines police station in the city where the case was lodged, H R Kuwadiya, today said that with 40 more arrests the total number of those nabbed in this connection has reached 49.
On July 6, the Surat police had booked 32 people including Congress Councillor Aslam Cyclewala of Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) in connection to this mob violence incident. Police had also filed a complaint against a mob of four to five thousand people. The accused have been booked under IPC section 307, which pertains to rioting and attempt of murder while attacking the police.
The police had resorted to tear gas shelling to control the unruly mob. The area had been cordoned off for sometimes and section 144 (prohibits an assembly of more than 4 people in an area) had been imposed on July 5.
Eye-witnesses had said that the rally from Chowk bazar area was taken out on a July 5 (Friday), as it was Jumma, a holy and auspicious day for the Muslim community. However, when the rally reached near Vivekanand circle police tried to stop them as it was not authorised. The crowd then became violent and started pelting stones at the police.
In the video of the rally posted on social media, the crowd is seen holding a banner of Versatile Minority Forum, which also says ‘President: Advocate Babu Pathan’. It may be noted that according to the Twitter profile of advocate Babu Pathan alias Ishtiyaque Pathan, he is the Vice President of Suat City Congress Committee.
An alleged bike thief Tabrez Ansari who was caught and beaten up by a mob in Dhatkidih, Jharkhand, on suspicion of bike theft on 18 June, had died some days later in police custody. An investigation team set up by the government had concluded that Ansari might have died due to stress-induced cardiac arrest. Medical reports had established that no internal injury was found on his body. Therefore, the police had dismissed the allegations of ‘mob-lynching’ as a cause of his death. However, protests and politicization over his death have continued across India.
Recently, similar protests over Tabrez Ansari’s death were reported from Meerut and Agra.