Mumbai police cancel permit for Muslim rally

Mumbai, May 25 (IANS) In a surprise move, Mumbai police has refused to allow a 300-km long Muslim reservation march from entering Azad Maidan Monday, the organisers said here Saturday.

“The Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF) had applied for permission April 30 for the march to culminate at Azad Maidan. It had started from Malegaon eight days ago,” said MRF spokesperson Halim Siddiqui.

“In a last minute move, Mumbai police suddenly cancelled the permission citing violence which had erupted there during a rally in August 2012,” Siddiqui told IANS.

An alternate venue offered is the K.J. Somaiya grounds in the eastern suburb of Vidyavihar, but the organisers feel it would be out of the way for many people from Maharashtra who are expected to participate in the rally.

MRF office-bearers are upset with Mumbai police authorities for intimating them the decision on a Friday afternoon, which did not give them time to challenge it before the courts.

The 2,000-strong march has reached Bhiwandi in Thane district and is expected to reach Mumbai Monday morning, said Siddiqui.

The rally, in which around 50-60 Muslim representatives from all cities in the state have been called, could see around 6,000-8,000 participants.

The MRF, an umbrella organisation of over a dozen Muslim groups in the state, is demanding 20 percent reservation in government jobs and admission to government colleges and institutions.

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