Newly elected All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) corporator Shahnawaz Shaikh was Saturday arrested along with 16 others for allegedly vandalising the Trombay police station and burning a police van parked outside it. The incident occurred around 10 pm, after the Trombay police arrested a 20-year-old man, Arvind Chinwa, for allegedly posting a morphed picture on social media that hurt the religious sentiments of a group. The accused was booked under Section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the Indian Penal Code.
However, a mob of nearly 150 people gathered outside the police station, demanding that the man be handed over to them. Shaikh, elected corporator from ward 145 last month, is alleged to have been a part of the mob.
“We have arrested 17 people till now, including MIM corporator Shahnawaz Shaikh. Further investigation is on and we are looking for other rioters,” said Annasaheb Sonur, senior inspector from Trombay police station.
According to Sonur, the situation was brought under control and additional force had been deployed in the area to maintain law and order. The police is scanning the CCTV footage to identify and arrest more suspects.
The AIMIM has, meanwhile, claimed that their corporator has been falsely implicated in the case. “Shahnawaz was picked from his residence and falsely implicated in the case due to political rivalries. The incident of burning the police vehicles is deplorable and the police must arrest the actual culprits,” AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan said.
A case under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the Indian Penal Code, read with relevant sections of the Criminal Law Amendment Act and Damage to Public Property Act, has been registered against the arrested accused. All 17 have been remanded in police custody till March 24. Chinwa has also been sent to police custody till March 23 by the court.