Mumbai, Feb. 14
The police who have managed to bring down the number of anti-CAA protestors by nearly 40 per cent at “Mumbai baug’ in South Mumbai by booking over 300 protestors, has now began serving notices to vendors warning them that they would be held equally responsible if something goes wrong at Mumbai Bagh.
The notices have been served under section 149 Cr PC to those distributing and delivering food, including bananas, and water to the anti-CAA protesters.
The police on Thursday served notices to several people under the CrPC. A local fruit seller, Ayyaz Shaikh, said that he was served notice under Section 149 for selling bananas to one of the visitors, who wanted to distribute them among protesters. Shaikh fears he may face police action after the protest is over. Section 149 states that “Police to prevent cognizable offences. Every police officer may interpose for the purpose of preventing, and shall, to the best of his ability, prevent, the commission of any cognizable offence”.
The police have already registered a case under section 341, 34 of IPC as well as section 313,314 of the BMC Act against protestors on charges of disrupting BMC’s ongoing road work by blocking the road and also continuing protests without seeking required police permission, at public place since Republic Day. The police have also sent a notice under Section 107 (security for keeping the peace in other cases) of the CrPC to some of the protestors.
Retired ACP Shamsher Khan Pathan of Mumbai police (retired in 2012) alleged that the police were harassing protesters and said that the police had served a notice under CrPC Section 149 to him as well. Since the police began intimidating the protesters, close to 90 per cent of them have faced action, one of the organisers Tohaa Qureshi said.
By now most of the vendors who had been distributing food and water to the Mumbai Bagh demonstrators have stopped coming fearing police crackdown. The police are not only serving notices to the protesters and the vendors, but also to those who have been extending their support to the Mumbai Bagh women. Notices are being given randomly to those who came there to express solidarity with the protesters, advocate Sundeep Narwani, claimed.
It may be recalled that some Muslim women began agitation from the night of Republic Day at Morland Road in Nagpada in South Mumbai and continued it without police permission and despite police suggesting them alternate site to stage agitation. The agitation is being staged on the lines of agitation in Shaheen Baug in Delhi. Many “secular” minded and “left-oriented people have visited Mumbai baug to express solidarity.
The protestors had a meeting with Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday after which they agreed to withdraw the agitation. However some of the women came back to the venue saying that the issue was not confined only to Maharashtra, but was applicable to whole of India, the agitation cannot be withdrawn. Besides the Maharashtra Government had not agreed to pass any resolution in the state legislature against CAA/NRC.