Mufti Salman Azhari arrested by Gujrat ATS
In a joint operation with Mumbai police, the Gujarat Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested Islamic preacher Mufti Salman Azhari in Mumbai for allegedly delivering an hate speech. The arrest happened on Sunday, and Mufti Salman was detained at the Ghatkopar police station, where a large number of his supporters gathered, demanding his immediate release.
Due to the large gathering, the police reportedly lathicharged Mufti’s supporters as traffic in the area was disrupted. Mumbai Police released a statement mentioning that a case had been registered against the mob that assembled outside Ghatkopar Police Station following Mufti Salman Azhari’s apprehension.
From inside the police station, Mufti Salman addressed his supporters and requested them not to protest. Salman Azhari insisted on his innocence, stating, “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.”
Mufti Salman Azhari, along with two others, Mohammad Yousuf Malek and Azim Habib Odedara, was arrested under Sections 153B (promoting enmity between different religious groups) and 505(2) (statements circulated to incite offense against a community) of the Indian Penal Code. The arrests happemed after a speech made by Mufti Salman in Junagadh, Gujarat, which circulated online.
The two local organizers, Malek and Odedara, were already apprehended by the Gujarat Police before Mufti Salman’s arrest. The Gujarat Police sought assistance from the Maharashtra Police in arresting the cleric.
Mufti Salman’s lawyer claimed that around 35 to 40 police personnel in civilian clothes arrived at his house on Sunday morning without specifying the purpose of their visit. After coordinating with Mufti Salman Azhari, the police informed them of the case lodged in Gujarat. The lawyer mentioned that Mufti Salman cooperated but no response has been received yet.
The Gujarat Police are taking Mufti Salman back to Junagadh on a two-day transit remand.