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Mumbai: 5 held for protesting Islamic preacher Salman Azhari's arrest

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Supporters of Salman Azhari gathered outside Ghatkopar police station in Mumbai

Mumbai: Five supporters of an Islamic preacher held from Mumbai for an alleged hate speech in neighbouring Gujarat were arrested on Monday morning for obstructing officials from performing their duty, a police official said.

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The Gujarat police arrested Islamic preacher Mufti Salman Azhari from Ghatkopar in Mumbai in connection with an FIR registered against him for allegedly delivering a hate speech at an event in Junagadh city on the night of January 31.

After a video of it went viral, an FIR was registered against Azhari and two others under Indian Penal Code sections 153B (promoting enmity between different religious groups) and 505 (2) (making statements conducive to public mischief), police said.

On Sunday, hundreds of people gathered on the arterial LBS road and mobbed Ghatkopar police station here after news of Azhari's arrest spread, the official said.

They demanded the immediate release of Azhari and police had to resort to a mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd, he said.

Five persons in the mob were arrested under Indian Penal Code sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge his duty), 332 (voluntary causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and other offences, including rioting, the official said.

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