Hubballi riots: Maulvi Pathan held, claims he is innocent

Pathan, a religious cleric, was absconding for the last few days and he was picked up in Belagavi.
Image used for representational purpose. (File Photo)
Image used for representational purpose. (File Photo)

HUBBALLI: The Hubballi police on Thursday arrested Wasim Pathan, a maulvi, who allegedly instigated a mob which had gathered outside the Old Hubballi Police Station on the night of April 16 to protest against a derogatory social media post.

Pathan, a religious cleric, was absconding for the last few days and he was picked up in Belagavi. He was wanted by the police after videos showing him atop a police vehicle from the riot night went viral. Incidentally, hours before the arrest, Pathan released a video claiming that he was innocent. Pathan said that he climbed the police vehicle after police requested him to do so and pacify the crowd.

“I was asking them to go back home. But suddenly the atmosphere changed and turned violent. As I was painted as the main conspirator for the violence, I feared for my life and did not surrender to the police,” he said in the video. Hubballi Police Commissioner Labhu Ram said that investigation has been expedited after the arrest of Pathan. He was subjected to questioning for more than three hours. Later he was taken to KIMS for a medical check-up after which he was produced before the magistrate.

“Pathan was picked up from Belagavi and the police are questioning him to know his role in the violence. So far, 134 people have been arrested. On Thursday, eight people were arrested. So far 12 cases have been booked,” the officer said. Police sources told TNIE that AIMIM leader Mohammed Arif was arrested in connection with the violence. The police said Abdul Mallik Bepari, a rowdy-sheeter, has also been taken into custody.

There were allegations that AIMIM party members were behind the stone-pelting in Hubballi. Meanwhile, the police have made elaborate arrangements to organise examinations for the main accused who posted a derogatory post on the social media leading to protests in Hubballi. The court has permitted the student to write his exams under police security. The bail plea of the student is expected to be heard on Friday.

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The New Indian Express