Mumbai cops okay with meeting, cagey about rally
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Mumbai Police on Monday said it had granted permission to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for a gathering at Azad Maidan, but stopped short of specifying the number of people likely to attend, or the strength of the police deployment.
"Someone from MNS had applied for permission for a sabha at Azad Maidan... After careful consideration, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 1) has granted permission... There are certain stipulations, and legal action will be taken if they are violated," Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Rajnish Seth said.
Officers said some of the conditions are that the gathering should be peaceful, safety measures followed, and all police orders obeyed.
Seth said he could not reveal details of the police bandobast, but it would be "adequate". The SRPF would also be deployed, and senior officers would be involved.
Police sources said around 5,000 personnel were likely to be deployed on the way from Girgaum Chowpatty to Azad Maidan, and at the venue for an estimated 1 lakh MNS workers and supporters. Policemen have been told to be in riot gear.
An additional commissioner of police would be stationed at Girgaum Chowpatty, one would follow the procession, and a third would be present at the ground, the sources said. Four deputy commissioners would be in charge of the bandobast at Azad Maidan.
Seth said no specific notice under CrPC section 149 (prevention of cognizable offences) had been issued to the MNS, though preventive notices had been served on some elements and detentions made by local police stations. Asked if the "rally" from Girgaum Chowpatty to Azad Maidan — for which the police had not given permission till late Monday evening — would be deemed illegal without police permission, Seth said, "You will see tomorrow whatever action we take."
Seth said, "We urge people not to believe in rumours. Some rumours have been deliberately circulated over the past few days, which are completely false. The city is peaceful, and we assure that it will remain peaceful tomorrow as well. There should be no apprehension that the police are not prepared."
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