Mumbai violence: Organisers admit remarks against media led to tension

Mumbai violence

The protest at Azad Maidan against the killing of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar was organised by Raza Academy and a few other organisations. Less than an hour after the riot started, president of the Raza Academy Alhaj Mohammed Saeed Noori Sahab said the "miscreants" were not associated with the academy. "Our protest was peaceful," he said.

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However, two hours later, as it emerged that the violence began after a speech condemning "poor coverage" of the Assam situation by the media, Noori admitted that an "irresponsible" speech had been made but steps were taken to bring the situation under control. He, however, maintained that the miscreants who were involved in the violence were not part of the academy.

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"There were several persons on the stage. One irresponsible person made statements regarding the media coverage. He was immediately stopped and attempts were made to calm the situation. We had no idea that this will happen," he said, condemning the attack on the media.

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The academy was formed in 1978 in Mumbai by Noori. The organisation routinely condemns acts of violence against Muslims and has worked with mohalla committees in Mumbai to maintain peace post-1993 riots and, more recently, called for celebrations when Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab was given the death sentence for his role in the 26/11 terror attack.

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Sources said the speech against the media was made by Maulana Sayid Moin Ashraf. He reportedly said the media covered even the smallest of human rights violations elsewhere but blacked out the Assam and Myanmar incidents.

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