‘Anti-Islam’ film: Protesters go on rampage, torch vehicles, police post
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A large number of protesters, who hit the streets against an anti-Islam US film, went on rampage in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, setting ablaze several vehicles and a police post in Karanj area .
Although the protest was planned against the US film, it turned against the Mufti of Shahi Jami Masjid, the biggest mosque of Gujarat.
The protesters gathered outside the mosque and shouted slogans against Mufti Shabbir Alam Sidddiqui who had appealed to the community on Tuesday not to take out any rally or observe bandh.
Around 2 pm, nearly 2,000 protesters gathered at Sardar Baug in Karanj area and shouted anti-US slogans condemning the film. Subsequently, the crowd marched towards the mosque in the crowded Pankornaka area. The gate of the mosque was reportedly closed, which apparently irked the protesters.
Soon, the mob set ablaze two motorbikes parked outside the mosque and marched towards Teen Darwaja where they torched several motorbikes and other police vehicles parked outside the woman police station.
Police resorted to lathicharge and fired teargas shells to disperse the mob. By the evening, more than 50 people were detained while a search for many others was on.
In-charge police commissioner Pramod Kumar told The Indian Express that no permission was sought from the police to take out the rally.
He said the situation was under control and a heavy police force had been deployed in the area. Forces from neighbouring police stations, including Dariapur, Shahpur and Gaikwad Haveli, were also pressed into service.
Meanwhile, Mufti Sidddiqui said he did not know who was behind the incident. "I am sure that they (protesters) were not from the vicinity of Jami Masjid," he said.
Asked if he had to run to safety when the mob reached the mosque, he said, "Where would I go? I did not go anywhere... people from the neighbourhood shut the entrances, and later, police were deployed there," he said, adding that a delegation would soon meet the Governor in this regard.
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