Mumbai – In a disturbing incident on Tuesday, January 23, a mob of 200-300 individuals targeted specific shops in Sector 5 of Shanti Nagar, Mira Road. The attackers, seemingly well-prepared, spared shops with saffron flags bearing ‘Jai Shri Ram’ but wreaked havoc on others. Among the victims were Muslim-owned establishments, raising questions about police inaction and the connection to the local real estate boom.
Shamsher Alam, owner of the 13-year-old Saba Boutique, described the attack as a passing commotion, lasting only 30 seconds. Despite the presence of local police just 20 meters away, the mob went unchecked, leaving destruction in its wake. Shop owners, including Alam, faced difficulty filing FIRs, with police reportedly reluctant to acknowledge the evidence.
CCTV footage from Shaikh Faiyyaz Ahmed’s Chote Nawab shoe shop revealed young boys, likely in their teens, armed with stones and backpacks, targeting shops without saffron flags. The violence extended beyond religious profiling, as a tempo driver and a 49-year-old man were also attacked, indicating a broader pattern.
Advocate Sachin Salvi, representing the victims, highlighted the police’s initial reluctance to file FIRs. After persistent efforts, FIRs were eventually registered, shedding light on the gravity of the situation. The violence, spanning three days, prompted locals to connect it with the booming real estate business in the area.
An incident preceding the violence involved the demolition of “illegal structures” by the municipal corporation, sparking unrest among affected shop owners. The attack on January 21, characterized by loud chants of “Jai Shri Ram,” escalated into violence, leading to arrests, including minors. However, concerns were raised over selective police action, as the individuals who provoked the situation went unquestioned.
The incident underscores the delicate communal fabric in Mira Road, with accusations of bias against the police and political figures. As investigations unfold, the community grapples with the aftermath, questioning the role of law enforcement in maintaining order and safeguarding the interests of all residents.