MUMBAI: Police in Mumbai have arrested more than 20 people in connection with violence that erupted at a rally in which two people were killed and dozens injured, reports said yesterday.
Protesters had gathered Saturday to condemn deadly sectarian clashes in India's northeast but the rally suddenly turned violent with three TV broadcast vans set ablaze, and police vehicles and buses pelted with bricks and stones.
Police said yesterday the situation was calm and more than 20 people had been arrested, with accusations against them including molestation and theft, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
During the violence the mob snatched two self-loading rifles and a pistol from policewomen, they said, while 36 out of 46 of the injured were police, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters late Saturday.
Investigators are due to probe whether any inflammatory speeches were made at the rally by organizers or if vandalism was pre-meditated.
The police used tear gas and bamboo sticks to disperse hundreds of people after the demonstration turned violent at Azad Maidan, a park near the landmark CST railway station where rallies are often held.
The demonstrators, wearing black bands, belonged to several Muslims groups, including Mumbai's Raza Academy, an organization promoting Islamic culture that had made a call to denounce recent ethnic clashes in India's Assam state.
Last month, fighting erupted between indigenous Bodo tribes and Muslim settlers over long-running land disputes and immigration issues in the state bordering Bangladesh, and least 77 people have died in the clashes.