Police conduct flag marches, Maharashtra says it will not file the case if the agitation is suspended

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government urged anti-CAA protesters in Mumbai Bagh to withdraw their eight-day agitation and assured them that they will not present any case against them if they move. Nagpada police, last week, had issued notices under the Preventive Section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code to seven locations, warning them that if unpleasant incidents occurred, they would be reserved.

A delegation of former and current representatives of MLA and women representatives of the protesters met with the minister on Monday after certain problems arose at the scene of the protest since Saturday. On Saturday, the police tried to leave the group, without success.

Former MLA Waris Pathan said they had asked Deshmukh to withdraw the notices issued. We will meet with the central committee of the protesters and make a unanimous decision on the next step, Pathan said. He said that the decision of whether the protest should be withdrawn or if it could be changed to another place would be taken at a meeting scheduled for the night at the protest site outside the Arabia hotel in Saudi Arabia.

The women who form the central committee of the protest were locked in a meeting on Monday night to determine their next course of action. However, the men who supported the agitation said they had no plans to agitate the agitation or move it elsewhere, and protesters at the scene organized their sitting until late at night.

The MLA of the Samajwadi party of Bhiwandi Rais Shaikh, who was also part of the delegation, said he did not want anyone to take advantage of the protest and the situation on the site, so an appropriate decision would be made.

For its part, the police began to prepare for the worst by carrying out flag marches in various parts of the city, which will be repeated on Tuesday. Police also reviewed and updated their standard operating procedure for communal riots. Former IPS officials said they do not remember such a fact since the Mumbai riots of 1992-93. Routine flag marches are held before elections or featured events. But rarely do police anticipate communal riots that will erupt at those times.

Monday's flag marches came immediately after the violence and the shooting near and in Delhi. Protests in Govandi and Madanpura have led Mumbai police to take preventive measures, sources said.

The police remained with their lips closed when asked if there was any high alert or anticipation of any unpleasant incident in the context of the anti-CAA/NRC protests in Nagpada and Deonar. Anything can happen. We are preparing for the worst, ”said an officer. “The march was carried out at the level of local police stations throughout the city for peace. The idea is to show the visible presence of the police and avoid any adverse incident, particularly in sensitive pockets, said Mumbai police spokesman, DCP Pranay Ashok. Meanwhile, Nagpada police have deployed two CCTV trucks at both ends of the Mumbai Bagh protest to capture images from all directions. The cameras are connected to the server in the police control room.

A flag march resembles the Armymen patrol in full gear in an area where curfew was imposed. The objective is to show the presence of forces in the area to avoid a public order situation.

The former Mumbai police commissioner said: He had heard of the police flag marches only between December 1992 and January 1993 after the demolition of Babri Masjid.

The former Navi Mumbai commissioner, K L Prasad, said: “I have never heard of such a flag march during the last decade in Mumbai. Even after 11/26, no flag march was made. The march takes place to reassure and restore confidence among people who are afraid of adverse incidents. Second, the idea is to spread fear in the minds of the wicked.

The IPS officer turned lawyer & P Singh said: The march could anticipate any volatile situation.

In the western suburbs, Bandra, D N Nagar, Meghwadi, Nirmal Nagar, Oshiwara, Sahar and Sakinaka police conducted marches in vulnerable pockets on Monday. “We received instructions from the police commissioner's office to carry out the march. It was held for an hour from 11.15 a.m. at 12.15 p.m. ”Said an officer.

In North Mumbai, flag marches were held in 5-6 locations, including Aarey Colony, Goregaon East, Malwani, etc. The revised and updated SOP mentions what the line of action should be if a communal disturbance breaks out, said Dilip Sawant, additional commissioner, northern region.

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