Joint commissioner of police Ajay Tomar said that differences of opinion among Muslim shopkeepers over keeping their establishments closed to express their outrage against the controversial film had led to the violence in which ten vehicles were torched and five policemen injured.
The mob even set fire to motorcycles parked in an all-woman police station near the historical Teen Derwaza in the market surrounded by shops owned by Muslims.
This correspondent found a curfew-like situation in the usually bustling locality on Thursday with gun-toting jawans of the Rapid Action Force and the State Reseved Police patrolling the trouble-torn localities.
It is learnt that Zarina Khan, a local activist who has since been arrested, had approached the main city police station in the area seeking permission to take out a rally in the old city in protest against the film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’.
When the police rejected her request, she and her supporters met Mufti Shabbir Alam Siddiqi, the imam of Juma Masjid, who advised them against the rally saying the film had already been banned in the country, and hence, there was no need for further protests.
However, on Wednesday afternoon, some 2,000 protesters gathered at garden in the heart of the city and went ahead with the rally and reached the mosque and mobbed the imam.
When the policemen can-charged them to disperse them, they were abused and assaulted.
Soon, as the word spread to other Mulsim-dominated areas, more crowds gathered. But when the agitators started torching bikes and police vehicles, the police lobbed tear-gas shells and even fired in the air.
Only on Monday, a peaceful shutdown was observed in Teen Darwaza. After this, some Muslim leaders like Zarina had decided to call for a ‘bandh’ in other minority-dominated areas of the city such as Kalupur, Dariapur, Shahpur, Danilimda, Jamalpur and Gomtipur. She had even published and distributed pamphlets appealing for joining the rally.