Maharashtra was in turmoil last week after several Muslim organisations called for protests based on the fake news of mosques being vandalised in Tripura. Many cities, including Malegaon, Amravati and Nanded saw violence as a rampaging crowd of Muslim groups flocked to the streets in opposition to vandalization that never happened.
Startling new facts have emerged in the investigation launched by the Malegaon police in connection with the violence and disruption caused under the pretext of carrying out demonstrations. As per a report published in TV 9 Marathi, the violence witnessed in Malegaon was not a spontaneous eruption of passion but a well-thought-out plan to foment trouble. In fact, the preliminary reports suggest that even political workers were involved in stoking tensions that led to acts of arson, vandalism and plundering.
The police officials are sifting through CCTV footage now to identity the rabble-rousers and make arrests in the case. Already, NCP corporator Ayaz Hulchul has been arrested by Malegaon police in connection with Friday violence. He is reportedly charged for inciting communal tensions by sharing an offensive video clip on social media that had instantly gone viral. The video was widely circulated on the internet, accusing the Tripura government of failing to stop the alleged vandalism.
Existing corporators, former councillors accused of fomenting violence in Malegaon
Police have registered five separate cases in the Malegaon violence case. It has launched a search for the suspects, including those responsible for sharing offensive videos, pelting stones, inciting people and hatching a conspiracy to cause violence. Many of the suspects are political workers, including former corporators. The accused also include two existing corporators, two former corporators and the son of a former corporator. Most importantly, a brother-in-law of a big political leader is also a suspect in the case. It is understood that the police are searching for the two existing corporators along with him.
Among those arrested in relation to the Friday violence case include corporator Ayaz Halchal, former corporator Rehman Shah, Awami Party president Rizwan Batterywala, Nasir Mehboob Shekhar, Wasim Akhtar Mohammad Sali, Altaf Anwar Shah, Mohammad Zahid Anis Ahmed, Mohammad Imran Atik Ahmed, Sabir Gauhar, Sarfaraz Javir, and Salim Sheikh. About 33 people have been arrested in connection with the Friday violence.
While several suspects who are identified by the police but are on the run include Yusuf Ilyas, Mustakim Dignity, Imran Rizvi, Dr Raees Rizvi, Salim Rizvi, Akil Rizvi, Kari Harun Rizvi, Zahid Anis Kutchi, Aftaaf Alam alias Arjunya, Tousif Sheikh Musa, Naveed Razza Sheikh, Ibrahim Raees Sheikh, Danish, Altaf Andha, Junaid Razzaq Sheikh and many others.
Violence erupts in protest organised by Raza Academy and All India Sunni Jamiat Ulema
On Friday last week, Raza Academy and All India Sunni Jamiat Ulema had called for a shutdown in protest against the alleged vandalisation of mosques in Tripura. A rally was organised, which turned violent, resulting in the destruction of several shops, properties worth millions of rupees set on fire and damaged. A case has been registered against the organisers in this regard. However, they have not been arrested yet.