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16 injured in Mumbai as anti-Assam riot protest turns unruly

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Azad Maidan Ground in south Mumbai this afternoon on a call given by a city-based outfit, Raza Academy, to denounce the riots in Assam and also alleged attacks on a minority community in neighbouring Myanmar.

They suddenly turned unruly and torched vehicles, damaged buses and pelted stones. Police opened fire in the air and resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the mob and restore order, said a policeman deployed at the Azad Maidan.

Azad Maidan Ground, a regular venue for protests, is located near Mumbai civic body headquarters and CST Mumbai railway station.

The bustling area wore a deserted look as policemen cordoned off the locality and patrolled the streets.

At least 16 people, including some media persons, were injured. The situation has been brought under control, police said, adding cause of the violence was being probed.

Due to the unrest, several suburban train services were briefly disrupted and road traffic was also affected.

Eight of the injured were rushed to St George Hospital while four each were taken to G T and J J Hospitals, officials at Disaster Control Room said.

"Three media OB vans and a police vehicle were set on fire. A BEST (civic) bus, two four-wheelers and five two- wheelers were damaged in the stone pelting," they stated.

Meanwhile, Raza Academy distanced itself from the violence. "While we were protesting at the ground, some people got aggressive and started behaving violently," Mohammed Saeed, General Secretary of the academy, told PTI.

"We never encourage violence and strongly condemn such acts," he added.

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First Published: Sat, August 11 2012. 18:05 IST