Shillong, February 5: At least two persons were injured when Mumbai Police resorted to mild caning to control a huge crowd which protested the release of a Muslim preacher who was arrested by Gujarat Police in a ‘hate speech’ case, officials said here on Monday.
A team of Junagadh Police (Gujarat) came to Mumbai and nabbed Mufti Salman Azhari who had allegedly made an inflammatory discourse at a public event there on January 31.
After videos of the discourse went viral, the Junagadh Police booked two local organisers M. Yousef Malek, Azim H. Odedara and Mufti Azhari, who had reached Mumbai later after allegedly making objectionable utterances.
The Gujarat Police’s Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) rushed to Mumbai and swooped on Azhari’s home in the eastern suburbs early on Sunday, detained him for several hours before placing him under arrest and then took him to Ghatkopar Police Station for completing the formalities before taking him to Junagadh.
Hearing of the arrest, a large number of his supporters gathered outside the police station, on Sunday even and the crowds kept increasing by late night, raising slogans and demanding the immediate release of Mufti, disrupting traffic movement for some time.
In the wee hours on Monday (February 5), the police resorted to mild caning to disperse the crowds in which at least two persons were injured, and videos of the victims surfaced on social media.
The situation is said to be under control and police are keeping a tight vigil in the vicinity.
An alumnus of the Al Azhar Cairo University (Egypt), Mufti Salman Azhari is a Islamic scholar, Sunni preacher and YouTuber who has founded several institutions, and lectures all over the world.
In a statement on his official account on X, it is said that 25-30 strong Gujarat ATS teams came and detained him around 11.56 a.m. (Sunday), and the action came after the Gujarat Police lodged a FIR based on “a false allegation of hate speech by right wing activists”. (IANS)