Earlier this month, intelligence agencies had warned the Maharashtra government that more than one SMS on the recent ethnic clashes in Assam were being sent to subscribers in Mumbai.
Though inflammatory content of the messages indicated a definite plan to incite passions, the warning was not heeded unfortunately.
Ahead of the protest rally organised by the Raza Academy, believers were urged at Friday prayers to flock to Azad Maidan. Yet the police did not anticipate that thousands would throng the protest venue on Saturday.
When a section of the large gathering turned violent after hearing provocative speeches, the 800-odd police personnel deployed around the Azad Maidan could not do much as they were outnumbered.
This allowed the protesters to damage public property at will, set several vehicles on fire and attack women. Media persons covering the incident were beaten up and their cameras destroyed by the goons.
Both the passengers and motormen were heckled at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Suburban train services were disrupted, affecting lakhs of commuters.
Cops wielding lathis proved to be no match for the hooligans who had cycle chains, long rods and other weapons in their hands. Some policewomen were molested right in front of their male colleagues.
In fact, two self loading rifles were seized from the hapless cops on that day. Police vans were stoned and even set ablaze.
Latest reports say CCTV footage shows an armed mob boarding a train from Kurla station and arriving at CST on Aug 11 armed with sticks, rods and swords. Evidently someone had made elaborate preparations.
Though 24 of the rioters have since been arrested and booked, they are all foot soldiers. Their 'masters' will be revealed only when the law catches up with those who scripted the vandalisation.