THE MUMBAI police on Saturday night arrested 20 Shiv Sena activists for ‘rioting’ at a Congress rally in Kandivli. The Mumbai unit of the Congress had organised the ‘Pol Khol’ rally with the purpose of exposing corruption in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), that is controlled by the Sena and the BJP.
Over 300 people had gathered for the rally, where Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam was speaking.
Police said more than 70 Shiv Sena supporters arrived at the venue to protest Nirupam’s remarks against Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday afternoon at Azad Maidan.
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Police claim that the Sena supporters attacked the attendants, mainly congress workers with eggs and tomatoes.
“Large stones were also flung at the stage. Nirupam however escaped unhurt. But at least four persons who were on stage with him were injured. We arrested about 20 party workers. But they were released on bail at around 1.30 am on Sunday,” said a senior police officer attached with the Samta Nagar police station.
The police claim that they are on the lookout for at least 50 more party workers, including seven women.
Nirupam, meanwhile, said: “They are getting aggressive because as they are afraid of what we are doing. They do not have any moral authority on this issue and therefore have resorted to violence. I will however not cow down. I would also want to say that the role of the police was highly suspicious during the entire incident. They behaved as if they were under pressure from the Shiv Sena and this government.”
The Shiv Sena, however, maintained that the Congress was unnecessarily creating such a hype over the issue.
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“He is unnecessarily blowing this issue out of proportion. He was made a Rajya Sabha MP twice by Balasaheb and Uddhav Thackeray. He should not forget that. If he talks about his benefactors in such a disparaging way, our activists will surely protest,” Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said.