Mumbai: 21 arrested over stone pelting at Ram Navami procession in Malvanib

A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against nearly 300 identified and unidentified persons at the Malvani police station, he said.

Mumbai: As many as 21 persons have been arrested so far in connection with the stone pelting at a Ram Navami procession in suburban Malad (West), police said on Friday.

The tensions on Thursday night began following disputes over the loud DJ music being played in the procession as it was passing through the vicinity of mosques in Malvani area, a police official said.

A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against nearly 300 identified and unidentified persons at the Malvani police station, he said.

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As per the FIR, more than 6,000 persons had participated in the Ram Navami procession organised by the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other Hindu organizations.

The procession began from Ram Janki temple late in the afternoon.

Around 7.25 pm, as it was moving towards Jama Masjid, around 100 to 150 people objected to the high volume of music as namaz was going on in the mosque, said a local police official.

As the volume of music was not lowered, there was some slogan-shouting and one of the men who had objected to loud music allegedly hurled a stone at the procession and it hit a participant, he added.

Police personnel deputed for security along the route immediately took the man who had thrown the stone into custody, he said.

As per the FIR, when the procession was near the Ali Hazrat mosque around 8.45 pm, a mob of 200 to 250 persons began to pelt stones.

As police tried to bring the situation under control, some people in the mob hurled stones at them and manhandled some police personnel, the FIR said.

Earlier, police had said that there was a “clash” between the procession participants and the other group, but the FIR did not mention it.

Additional police force was called in and police used “mild force” to disperse people from both sides, said a senior official.

Members of right-wing organisations gathered outside Malvani police station late at night demanding action against those who pelted stones.

Senior police officers and local politicians reached the spot and the situation was brought under control, the official added.

The FIR was registered under Indian Penal Code sections 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 145 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting ) and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Police Act.

“The miscreants who tried to create tension during the procession are being identified with the help of drone and CCTV footage and action is being taken against them,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajay Bansal told reporters.

More arrests are likely, he added.

A large number of police personnel were deployed in the area and the situation was under control, Bansal said, while appealing people to maintain peace and not to believe rumours.

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