Muslim cleric arrested for 'hate speech', sparks protest at Mumbai police station
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Muslim cleric arrested for 'hate speech', sparks protest at Mumbai police station

Days after a speech he made in Gujarat's Junagadh was circulated online, Islamic preacher Mufti Salman Azhari was arrested in Mumbai as an accused in a hate speech case.

In a joint operation with Mumbai cops, Gujarat Police's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested Islamic preacher Mufti Salman Azhari in Mumbai on Sunday for allegedly giving an inflammatory speech. Mufti Salman was detained at the Ghatkopar police station as hundreds of his supporters gathered outside the station demanding his immediate release.

An official told PTI news agency that police lathicharged Mufti's supporters as traffic in the area was disrupted. Mumbai Police said in a statement that a case has been registered against the mob that gathered outside Ghatkopar Police Station after Maulana Mufti Salman Azhari was brought in.

The cleric also addressed his supporters from inside the police station and asked them not to protest. "Neither am I a criminal, nor have I been brought here for committing a crime. They are doing the required investigation and I am also cooperating with them. I am ready to be arrested if it is my destiny," said Mufti Salman Azhari.

Mufti and two others were arrested under Sections 153B (promoting enmity between different religious groups), 505 (2) (statements circulated to incite offence against a community) of the Indian Penal Code days after a speech he made in Gujarat's Junagadh was circulated online.

The two others -- Mohammad Yousuf Malek and Azim Habib Odedara -- are local organisers and were already arrested by the Gujarat Police before Mufti's detention. The Gujarat Police then reached out to the Maharashtra Police seeking help to arrest the cleric.

Mufti's lawyer said around 35 to 40 police personnel in civilian clothes arrived at his house on Sunday morning. He added that the cops refused to inform them of the purpose of their visit.

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Muslim cleric arrested for 'hate speech', sparks protest at Mumbai police station

"After coordinating with Maulana Mufti Salman Azhari, they (police) said that a case has been lodged under 153 B, in Gujarat. Maulana Mufti Salman Azhari came to the police station with them and also cooperated, but there is no reply yet," he added.

Source: India Today

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