MUMBAI — Two people died after protests in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan over the ethnic violence in Assam, turned violent. The police had to fire in the air and use batons to disperse the crowd after some people burnt vehicles, including media vans.
Roads leading to Azad Maidan were blocked and the police managed to control the mob after 30 minutes.
Police are still verifying what exactly killed the two protestors and what was the reason that the crowds got agitated. The State Reserve Police and riot control police were pressed into action to bring the situation under control.
Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik said at least 13 police officers and five protesters were injured in the clashes.
He said protesters burnt three TV broadcasting vans, complaining that media coverage of last month’s rioting in Assam was biased against the Muslim victims.
People gathered in Azad Maidan over the violence in Assam between people from the Bodo tribes and Muslim communities that broke out on July 20, after unidentified men killed four Bodo youths. In retaliation, armed Bodos — who dominate Kokrajhar and Chirang districts — attacked Muslims, suspecting them of being behind the deaths.
Communal clashes have since ensued and fleeing survivors speak of large groups of men armed with automatic weapons surrounding entire villages, going on the rampage, gunning down people or hacking them to death with machetes. Hundreds of villages have been looted and razed. Due to the violence, nearly 400,000 people have been displaced and over 70 are dead. — Agencies