Main organiser of August 11 rally arrested
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Citing that permission was given for 1,000 silent protestors, the Crime Branch said certain conditions were violated. "We had questioned Raza a couple of times and found that he was not forthcoming about his role in organising the rally. On Monday, we again called him for questioning. He was still not cooperating, after which we arrested him. He will be produced in court on Tuesday," said Niket Kaushik, Additional Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch. "There was also violation of the licence conditions," he added. Police will now probe if Raza violated any conditions imposed on him.
The Crime Branch, however, in its 3,500-page chargesheet was unable to draw a direct link between the speech made by the community leaders and the rioters. The investigators have so far named one Burmese national Yusuf Khan and Salim Lightwala as prime conspirators, with 39 of the 63 arrested released on bail and five discharged.
"The speakers were brought by Raza. Legally, he thought of the rally and applied for licence, hence he is the main organiser. We felt that he was withholding information crucial to the investigation," said a Crime Branch official. Few other organisers are still being questioned. The police have maintained till date that two the 17 community leaders who had delivered speech at the rally were "aggressive".
On August 11, what was supposed to be a peaceful rally to discuss reported atrocities on Muslims in Myanmar, turned violent after thousands of attendees went on a rampage outside the ground. Media vans and police vehicles were damaged and policemen were attacked. Several female policemen were molested and the rioters fled with many police issue firearms. Thirty women constables had also complained of molestation and having being attacked by a violent mob.
who is raza, what he did
A Bihar native, Raza has lived in Kurla all his life doing sundry jobs. A few years ago, he completed a correspondence course from Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad University and moved to the UK after clearing International English Language Testing System Certificate. He moved to UK as a preacher. On returning from UK in 2011, he started a madrasa out of a rented shanty in Kurla.
Raza has told the police that he was approached by a friend and a scrap dealer, Rizwan Khan, to organise a community protest at Azad Maidan. NGOs and mosques showed support once the news spread. In an interview to this paper, he maintained that he was unaware of the background of the rioters, but admitted delay in updating the police on the crowd estimate. Raza in his application to Azad Maidan police station cited that the idea of the foundation was to "create awareness" of matters that affect the community.
The only purchases he made after he got police permission were mini-amplifiers and a mike. It was only when he started getting calls from mosques and NGOs that he went for speakers.
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