Police today fired tear gas shells in Athwa lines area of Surat city in Gujarat to control a mob of Muslims who tried to take out a rally against the alleged mob-lynching incident of Tabrez Ansari of Jharkhand. Despite being denied the permission by authorities they tried to proceed with the rally.
— DeshGujarat (@DeshGujarat) July 5, 2019
The mob allegedly went on a rampage and pelted stones at police officers leaving 4-5 officers injured. They also damaged two public buses.
The area had been cordoned off for sometimes and section 144 (prohibits an assembly of more than 4 people in an area) has been imposed. Police said extra police personnel have been deployed in the area where the situation is tense but under control.
DCP Surat: 4-5 policemen injured after a clash broke out when police tried to stop people from taking out rally in Nanpura area, today. Section 144 (prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in an area) has been imposed in the area. The rally didn’t have permission. #Gujarat pic.twitter.com/25uTxliRFc
— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2019
Eye-witnesses said the rally from Chowk bazar area as today is Jumma (Friday), 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.
Satish Sharma, Commissioner of Police said a group of Muslims had handed over a memorandum on the same issue to the district administration two days ago and after that, another group also sought permission to take out a rally from Chowk Bazar area to the collector office in Athwa-lines.
“But they were denied permission as it was a working day and the matter was not of Gujarat. Despite that they were adamant on taking out the rally, so police had to fire at least 8 tear gas shells to control the mob, which had resorted to stone pelting injuring 3 to 4 police personnel and also damaging vehicles including a bus,’ he added.
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 was caught and beaten up by a mob in Dhatkidih, Jharkhand who then died some days later in police custody. 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.
After protests in one locality of Meerut was reported on June 30 another locality in Meerut was engulfed in similar protest the next day.
As per reports, hundreds of protesters had gathered on June 30 evening near Faiz-e-Azam college, protesting against the alleged mob lynching of Ansari.
The police had to lathi charge on the crowd to control the situation as the mob started to pelt stone. The police had stated permissions were not sought for the gathering and the protests.
Similarly, the next day in Meerut’s Mawana area, hundreds of people had gathered near the Mosque at Mill road to hear Maulana Nafees Ahmed, who had organized a meeting for the members of Muslim community over the death of Ansari. Several hundred people had gathered near the mosque to hear Maulana’s speech and soon they started altercations with the police, which resorted to lathi charge to disperse the crowd.
Agra too witnessed similar protests. As per reports, on Monday, several Muslim groups took out protests in Agra demanding justice for Ansari. Like in Meerut, the protests had begun after a gathering at the Royal Jama Masjid. The protests were reportedly organized by Indian Muslim Action Committee and Bharatiya Vikas Parishad.
Despite the implementation of section 144 of the CrPC and police presence, one section of Muslim protestors soon turned violent and proceeded towards the city’s Sadar Bhatti and Kashmiri Gate areas where they tried to shut down the local market. Here too, police stated that no prior permission was taken for the gatherings and protests.
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 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.