Mumbai: One of the vandals who levelled a blow on the city’s pride on August 11 has finally been apprehended. Another is still on the run. Unit X of Mumbai Crime Branch has managed to arrest the 19-year-old who allegedly desecrated the Amar Jawan memorial during the August 11 riots at Azad Maidan. Police said that the youth was apprehended in Bihar from where he was making preparations to flee to Nepal, after MiD DAY published photographs of him in the act of vandalising the memorial. However, he was caught before he could make his escape.
Abdul Qadir Mohammad Yunus Ansari (19), a resident of Sitawadi in Quarter Colony, Jogeshwari (East) was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch officers from Sitamarhi in Bihar. “Abdul’s father is a maulvi and three of his brothers are also maulvis. The family is very poor. Abdul has six brothers and two sisters,” said Abdul Rauff Shaikh, police inspector of unit 10. “Abdul had attended a few meetings held in Jogeshwari before August 11, where they discussed the violence in Assam and Myanmar,” said Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Himanshu Roy.
The photographs of Abdul were taken by MiD DAY photographer Atul Kamble during the violence and were published on August 14. Abdul, clad in a white kurta, can be seen in the photos taking an angry and decisive blow at the memorial with a stick. The memorial, which was unveiled in 2009, was erected to commemorate communal harmony and preserve the memory of two sepoys — Sayyed Hussein and Mangal Cadiya — who were martyred during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.
The photographs published by MiD DAY were used by cops to launch a search for the criminal who sullied the city’s pride. Unable to resist the temptation of basking in his 15 minutes of fame, Abdul went about proudly displaying the MiD DAY edition with his photograph to his friends and acquaintances. His wiser mother enlightened him of the possible consequences of his capture and asked him to flee to his uncle’s place in the Sitamarhi district in Bihar. “Abdul boarded the Pawan Express from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) and went to Bihar, from where he was planning to flee to Nepal,” said Rauff.
Crime Branch however managed to trace Abdul’s father, only to learn that he had packed his bags and fled to Nepal. “Abdul studied in a madrassa and was unemployed,” said Rauff.
The other vandal, also a resident of Jogeshwari, is still wanted by Crime Branch. “He managed to flee after Crime Branch arrested Abdul, as he realised he was in trouble. We have identified him on the basis of his photos published in MiD DAY and will be arresting him soon,” said a source from Crime Branch. Police are also interrogating Abdul about his possible connections with the other vandal.