The city of Meerut has turned into a seething cauldron after Muslim groups in the city organised violent protests against the unfortunate killing of the alleged bike thief Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand last month. Internet services were suspended on Friday in Meerut and scores of police personnel were deployed amidst heightened tension, days after the police lathi-charged violent crowd that had gathered to protest against mob violence.
On Monday, in Meerut’s Mawana area, hundreds of people had gathered near the Mosque at Mill road to hear Maulana Nafees Ahmed, who had organised a meeting for the members of Muslim community over the death of Tabrez Ansari. As a crowd of several hundred gathered near the Mosque to hear the Maulana’s speech, soon they started altercations with the police. The police had to lathi charge again to disperse the crowd.
On the previous day, a similar crowd had gathered at the Faiz-e-Azam college and had pelted the police with stones and created a ruckus.
Tabrez Ansari was caught by the locals in the Dhatkidih village in Jharkhand on suspicion of bike theft on 18 June. He was beaten up by them before being arrested by the police. He had died on June 22. An investigation team set up by the government had concluded that Tabrez might have died due to stress-induced cardiac arrest.
Medical reports had established that no internal injury was found on Tabrez’s body, hence the police had dismissed the allegations that ‘mob-lynching’ was a cause of Tabrez’s death. However, as the media fanned ‘mob lynching’ narrative, several areas in the country have witnessed violence by Mulsim mob ‘protesting’ against Tabrez’s death.
Meerut has continued to remain tense after last week’s incidents. The Rapid Action Force and the Meerut police personnel, along with members of Provincial Armed Constabulary, were stationed in areas around Indira Chowk. Senior police officials, including Meerut zone ADG, carried out a flag march.
The police have initiated action against those involved in violent protest. More than 50 people have been arrested by the police so far. The accused have been booked under IPC Sections 148 (rioting armed with a deadly weapon), 352 (assault), 336 (act endangering life personal safety), among others. Badar Ali, allegedly the one who led the protest march on June 30, was arrested by the police from near a mall in Meerut. The police will prosecute him under the National Security Act(NSA) and his properties will be confiscated.
The SSP of Meerut, Ajay Sahni said: “As a precautionary measure, Police personnel have been deployed and patrolling carried out since 6 in the morning. The Internet services had been suspended because there were rumours of Bharat Bandh floated by some anti-social elements. However, the community members have claimed that they are not supporting the bandh.”
Similar violent protests were also reported from Agra and Surat. In Agra too, a crowd of Muslims had gathered at a Mosque and had then proceeded to pelt stones and attack shopkeepers in several areas. In Surat, a Muslim mob had gathered yesterday to ‘protest’ against Tabrez’s death. The mob had soon turned violent and had pelted stones, attacked police personnel and had also reported damaged public buses on the road.