Mira Road On Boil Since A Year, Locals Say Clashes Are Political Conspiracy

Mira Road On Boil Since A Year, Locals Say Clashes Are Political Conspiracy

The initial outbreak of violence was reported on the night of January 21 in Naya Nagar, resulting in multiple injuries. Witnesses recall a procession comprising vehicles, especially bikes bearing saffron flags, near Taini villa masjid and Mohammed masjid on Lodha Road.

Kashif KhusroUpdated: Friday, January 26, 2024, 01:47 PM IST
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Mira Road Clashes | File

The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) bulldozed 10 shops on the main Haidari Chowk area of Naya Nagar in Mira Road on Tuesday. Although the MBMC maintained it was routine action against illegal structures, locals termed it intimidation tactics against poor shopkeepers with no connection to the clashes after the consecration ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22. Blaming a larger political conspiracy, they said that the tension had been simmering since early 2023. 

Since early 2023, Tension has been building in Mira Road 

In March 2023, a spiritual leader known for his inflammatory speeches held an event in Mira Road. In April, an FIR was registered against Kajal Hindustani, a figure known for her oratory skills in far-right circles, during the Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha. In July, an incident involving a family bringing goats home for Bakri Eid in JP Infra Housing Society led to an uproar and police intervention. 

The initial outbreak of violence was reported on the night of January 21 in Naya Nagar, resulting in multiple injuries. Witnesses recall a procession comprising vehicles, especially bikes bearing saffron flags, near Taini villa masjid and Mohammed masjid on Lodha Road. The bikers were reportedly chanting religious slogans. The sound from modified bike silencers, mistaken for gunfire, led to widespread panic and a subsequent clash between a biker and a bystander. Following this incident, on January 22, clashes intensified with two groups engaging in stone pelting during a procession on Mira Road. Unverified online videos depict severe vandalism and assaults. 

Nadeem Sortiya, a local hotel manager, reported property damage and injuries due to an attack by a group on two-wheelers. Miscreants vandalised one more clothes boutique, Saba Creations, on January 23. Dr Azimuddin Sayyed of the Hum Bhartiya Mira Bhayandar highlighted the complex nature of the issue, stating, "This is not just a communal conflict, but also a manifestation of political agendas. The sustained shouting of slogans is a deliberate provocation." He also said that local BJP MLA Geeta Jain was responsible for incendiary sound bytes to private TV channels. 

Viral videos displayed the initial assault that triggered unrest

Community leaders, including Iqbal Mahadik of the Star Foundation and social activist Ramzan Khatri, assembled with a small group of people near the Mohammedi masjid where the main incident on January 21 was reported. "There is CCTV camera footage wherein the alleged sloganeering and attack can be seen. The police should verify the footage and then arrest the miscreants," said Khatri. The viral video showing the initial assault has sparked widespread unrest in Mira Road, leading to mobs targeting specific community members and shops. 

As of now, the police have filed 15 FIRs and made 30 arrests, with more expected. Authorities are also actively working to control the spread of inflammatory content on social media, with the police issuing warnings to WhatsApp group admins.

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