The Dongri Police on Friday arrested a 60-year-old man who is known to be one of the suspects in the Mumbai Riots that occurred in the year 1993.
In 2004, the court declared the man, Atahar Baig Riyaz Mirza, a fugitive and marked the case as a dormant file. The police in the last week received a tip-off about Mirza, who then laid a trap to arrest him.
Along with Mirza, a total of 11 were booked by the police in connection to the case at that time.
According to Sham Sundar Bhise, police sub-inspector, who is also the investigating officer in the case, the information about Mirza being in the Null Bazar area of Bhuleshwar in Mumbai South was received from an undercover informant sometime in the last week.
“We started looking at the old files to find out about the case as it’s at least 29 to 30 years old. While going through the court files, it was found that Mirza was suspect number 1. However, he didn’t have ‘Baig’ and ‘Mirza’ in his name in the official files. But as the investigation progressed, it was known to us that suspect 1 and Mirza are the same people,” said Bhise. Along with Mirza, out of the 11 who were booked related to the case, only 2 were acquitted by the court.
The police further mentioned that Mirza lives with his family in Null Bazar. He has his own business where he sold betel nuts for a living near his house. “While interrogating Mirza, he said he didn’t remember anything and that he has nothing to do with any other suspects,” said another police officer while declaring that they received no cooperation from Mirza related to the case.
In the Mumbai, then Bombay, riots that occurred in December 1992 and January 1993, reports suggest that an estimated 900 people died. The riots were mainly due to escalations of hostilities after large-scale protests by Muslims in reaction to the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition by Hindu karsevaks in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. While the Hindu mobs were subsequently protesting in regard to the Ram Temple matter.
A case has been registered against Mirza by the Dongri police under sections 141 to 149 that states, unlawful assembly (141), being a member of the unlawful assembly (142), punishment for being a member of the unlawful assembly (143), joining unlawful assembly armed with a deadly weapon (144), joining or continuing in unlawful assembly (144), knowing it has been commanded to disperse (145), rioting (146), punishment for rioting (147), rioting, armed with a deadly weapon (148) and every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object (149), under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
These, along with sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter the public servant from his duty) under the same act.
Bhise confirmed that Mirza was produced in the special holiday session on Saturday at the Sewree court who was then remanded to judicial custody.