Dhule riots: Police probe speeches by politicians

Smita Nair Posted: Jan 08, 2013 at 0311 hrs
Mumbai Speeches made by a few Muslim politicians in October 2012, ahead of the municipal elections, are believed to be at the bottom of the riots in Dhule on Sunday that saw four killed and over 200 injured, more than half of them policemen.

The police are probing the “context” and “words” of the speeches and investigating if these could have led to the riots. “We have inputs of a few Muslim politicians inciting a crowd in Dhule and allegedly telling them to attack policemen and officers at the next opportunity. We do not know the reason behind this, but this will be probed,” Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal said.

According to sources, the politicians were led by Abu Azmi, Mumbai unit president of the Samajwadi Party. Azmi told The Indian Express: “I don’t remember the context of the speech made. I would not use words like these. I said the police are being unfair to Muslims. Innocent men are being put behind bars. The government should do something. Police should get punished. This is what I say everywhere and I am sure I said the same in Dhule in October 2012.”

When asked if the police had called him for questioning, he said, “Nobody has called me yet.”According to Dayal, Sunday’s violence was intense and spread very fast.

Responding to allegations by the Muslim community that the police could have avoided firing, Dayal said his men resorted to it after they were attacked. “Over 113 policemen were attacked, with 48 seriously injured and admitted. The superintendent has incurred four stitches on his cheek. ASP and deputy SP were attacked by a mob in a narrow alley with stones and all sorts of things,” said Dayal.

He added that all the allegations will be probed. An additional district magistrate has been asked to look into the police firing. The police are also probing reports of “private firing”.