The Mumbai Police have registered a total of 35 FIRs in connection with protests by Dalit groups across the city earlier this month, according to final figures provided to the police top brass. Barring two FIRs that carry attempt to murder charges, all others invoke sections pertaining to rioting, punishable by 10 years of imprisonment or less.
Police have also estimated that the city suffered a loss of around Rs 95 lakh in the two days from damages to property. Sections of the Criminal Amendment Act have been invoked, police said, to recover this amount from those who caused the damages.
“The final count of FIRs is 35. In the majority of cases, minor sections, such as rioting, were invoked. Two cases, one each at Powai and Parksite police stations, are cases of attempt to murder,” a senior IPS officer said. The officer added that in the majority of cases, those arrested were released on bail.
“We are, however, investigating if any part of the violence had been planned in advance. If we find any particular people who had conspired to carry out violence in the protests, they will be named as accused in the chargesheet,” another officer said. According to an officer, losses suffered to the tune of Rs 95 lakh during the protests include Rs 21 lakh from damage to 260 BEST buses, Rs 65-70 lakh from damage to 240 four-wheelers and Rs 10 lakh from damage to 171 ‘other vehicles’.
These details will be provided to the district collector, who will then start the process of collecting compensation for the losses from those found guilty. “We have specifically invoked sections of the Criminal Amendment Act, which makes the disruptors liable to pay for the damages caused by them,” an officer said.
The Mumbai Police had invoked similar sections during the Azad Maidan riots case that took place in 2012, after which a notice for the recovery of Rs 2.73 crore was served to those alleged to have organised the riots. The amount has not yet been collected. Dalit groups protested in the city on January 2 and January 3, after several members of the Dalit community were attacked in and around Koregaon Bhima in Pune district on January 1.