Friday, March 14, 2014

Police excesses in Mumbra: Midnight raid, illegal detention, humiliation in the garb of 'search operation' shocks residents in Maharashtra town

Around 300 policemen stormed into Rashid Compound in Mumbra (near Mumbai), entering houses, detaining elderly citizens, youths and even the minors.

They were all brought out, forcibly taken towards the police vans and herded to the police station.

Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP) Amit Kale led this operation that has sent shock waves in the entire Mumbra settlement, and causing anger among Muslims.

There are 11 buildings in the Rashid Compound. All of them were targeted for this 'midnight search operation'.

It was not about policemen entering one or two houses to catch suspects, with warrant. People were woken up in the midst of the night, without telling reason to women folk, the police dragged the male members away.

The senior citizens, schoolboys and prominent persons including poet Obaid Azam Azmi were also forcibly taken away, for no fault of theirs. The victims have recounted the harassment faced at the hands of policemen, to newspapers.

Inquilab reports that women in the bedrooms were woken up during this 'house search' operation. Azmi told the policemen that his father was an MLA, yet, there wasn't any respite. Local residents alleged that many policemen were drunk.

The incident stunned the residents and the news of the mass detentions spread like wildfire. People began gathering outside the police station. Local NCP MLA Jitendra Avhad and members of the social organisations began gathering on the spot.

Seeing the situation was now getting out of hand, the police later released 80 persons. Residents said that it was saddening to see the mistreatment of such magnitude and the manner in which people were taken away like criminals and made to sit on the floor in police station, an eyewitness was quoted in the newspaper.

This incident had occurred on the night of Wednesday and Thursday. The reports in newspapers quote residents as saying that policemen were armed with cutters to break the doors. Over a dozen police vehicles had entered the locality in this swoop.

The reason was that police had to catch certain chain-snatcher. This report tells how '80 Muslims were held to catch a chain snatcher'.

There was no criminal found among those detained. The police highhandedness has been widely condemned.

On Thursday, meetings were held at different places. A formal complaint was also made to home minister. This has happened in a Congress-ruled state.

Though an inquiry has been promised, the highhandedness and the totally unjustifiable action, once again shows the mindset and the biases of sections among the Maharashtra police.

Report in Urdu Times, says that while officials in the raid had said that they had orders from top, senior officials said that they hadn't given any such order to conduct the midnight swoop.

Mumbra is located in Thane district, but falls under Greater Mumbai. It has a population of nearly 10 lakh [1 million now]. The place has a strong Muslim population. In fact, minorities account for 70% of the population  here. Jitendra Avhad is the NCP legislator from here.

The police commissioner has also promised that inquiry would be completed in eight days, say newspaper reports. One hopes that the police officials will conduct an impartial inquiry and take action against policemen responsible for such excesses.


Shamelessly, it was termed a routine checking drive! Where on earth, cops enter homes at 2 am, herd people out, parade them, force them into van, take to police station, made them sit on floor and then for no fault of theirs, and then say it is 'routine checking drive'.

The officer Amit Kale hasn't been suspended as yet. There has been no action so far against other policemen who were part of the team. The officials claim that an inquiry has been instituted. Let's see if it is just a delaying tactic or they will take action.


The English and Hindi newspaper almost completely ignored the incident, despite the gravity of the biased action. There is clear bias against Mumbra at the root of this post-midnight swoop. Indian Express followed the news and printed it on its front page.

But for most other papers, it was just no news. TV channels that get into hyper active mode at minor incidents, didn't take up the case. It was an incident over which the Maharashtra government and Mumbai police ought to be questioned, so that corrective measures are taken.