A PRESS CONFERENCE on the issue of a separate Vidarbha state was interrupted by members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Tuesday. The conference had been organised by the Vidarbha Rajya Andolan Samiti at Press Club in south Mumbai. The MNS members barged into the event while it was under way, insisting that the conference be halted. The members, led by corporator and party spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande, Ameya Khopkar and others, interrupted the organisers by shouting slogans against any effort to divide Maharashtra.
“The press conference was held to discuss the need for a separate Vidarbha. We will ensure that till we are alive, we will fight for statehood. This is a democracy and we are free to discuss our opinions in a public forum,” said former MLA Wamanrao Chatap, who was one of the speakers at the event.
Chatap said police were called to intervene after the conference was interrupted and the MNS members were asked to leave the venue. The conference continued thereafter, he added.
“Our party’s position is that of akhanda Maharashtra. We will not allow any discussion on separate statehood for any region. We will dissent each time this topic is taken up in such forums within Maharashtra,” said Ameya Khopkar, president of the Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena.
The Azad Maidan police station has filed an FIR against Deshpande, Khopkar, Santosh Dhuri and other MNS members. An officer confirmed that an FIR had been registered under section 143 of the Indian Penal Code for unlawful assembly and under two other sections of the Bombay Police Act.