Two days after over 150 policemen entered the homes of several Muslim families in Rashid Compound of Mumbra and rounded up 81 males, including several minors, a senior Thane police officer confirmed Saturday that Assistant Commissioner of Police Amit Kale, who had allegedly ordered the “combing operation” to catch two chain-snatchers, had gone on eight-day leave.
After the operation in the wee hours of March 13, 81 people were detained for nearly four hours at Mumbra police station.
Agitated community representatives had later approached Thane Police Commissioner Vijay Kamble, who ordered an inquiry under the Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dr Ravinder Kumar Singal. “We have already begun recording statements of families,” Singal said.
He also confirmed a team from the state’s minorities commission was in Mumbra for an independent probe. Delhi-based rights activist and lawyer Shehzad Poonawala has also filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission and the National Minority Commission over the incident. “It is a clear violation of their constitutional rights. The police have absolutely no power to barge into houses like this,” Poonawala said.
On Friday, The Indian Express reported how policemen barged into the houses of residents of Rashid Compound at 1.45 am and rounded up men, including 17 minors who were detained in the police van for over an hour. The minors were later released after their parents showed the police school identity cards and hall-tickets of some students who are taking their SSC exams presently. “My mother told the policemen I had a geometry exam to take in the morning. After a lot of negotiations, they let us off,” said 16- year old Shaikh Fahad, who was also detained.
Police said the area housed several criminals. “Many are involved in chain-snatching and thefts. Some of them are Iranians. There are cases against them not only in Mumbai, but also in Bangalore and in Madhya Pradesh. We are gathering more information on their criminal antecedents,” Singal said. Police had earlier claimed they were looking for two Balochistanis hiding in the area.
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