WITH 12 MNS protesters sent to judicial custody till November 4 for trying to force their way into Mumbai’s Metro Cinema while protesting against the Diwali release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, party leaders admitted that things may have got “a little out of hand”.
”They were supposed to meet the management of the cinema halls, give them a memorandum and make them understand what the issue was. In this case, it went a little out of hand,” said Shalini Thackeray, general secretary, MNS.
With the court posting the matter for hearing on Friday, another MNS leader said the arrests were “unexpected”. “All divisional heads from Mumbai, Pune and Thane have been asked to lie low,” said the leader.
From a labour contractor to a Gujarati tailor, most of the 12 protesters have prior cases against them for blackening non-Marathi signboards and indulging in vandalism.
Arvind Gawade, 45
MNS vice president
A PWD labour contractor, Gawade has 17 prior cases against him, mostly for his role in various party protests. He was externed by Mumbai Police between 2007 and 2008 and lodged in Arthur Road Jail once.
A founder members of MNS, he operates a Krishi Dhan Vahini, where the party facilitates farm produce to be bought directly from farmers. Gawade, whose father is a former Shiv Sena corporator, has been associated with Raj Thackeray since joining the Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Sena.
He has previously been arrested for participating in a protest in support of Marathi signboards on shops and booked last year for a protest against price rise. In 2008, he was jailed for a week for allegedly blackening the nameplate of a prominent garment store. He was also part of protests in 2015 against a banner put up by former Mumbai sheriff Nana Chudasama.
Shekhar Gawhane, 35
MNS divisional head, Colaba
A founder member of MNS, Gawhane was promoted to the post of Vibhag Adhyaksh (divisional president) recently. He has been booked for involvement in various agitations, including the one demanding Marathi signboards. Party workers say he was booked in three cases. Shekhar lives in Chira Bazar and runs a transport business.
Nishant Bala Gaikwad, 35
MNS dy divisional head, Colaba
Son of a retired assistant sub-inspector, Gaikwad has three criminal cases against him. He runs an import-export business, has been associated with MNS since 2006 and was the party’s youngest ward president. He is also a member of the Maharashtra Navnirman Navik Sena, the party’s maritime wing. He has participated in various protests, and was arrested for his role in an agitation against inflation last year.
Raju Patel, 45
MNS dy ward president, Fort
Patel is a Gujarati who has been associated with MNS since 2006, and runs a tailoring and catering business. He was jailed for four days last year for his role in the Marathi signboard protest at the office of former Mumbai sheriff Nana Chudasama last year.
Nilesh Jadhav, 36
MNS ward president, Mandvi
Jadhav runs a salon in Chira Bazar near Metro Cinema in south Mumbai, and has two cases against him. He runs one of three Krishi Dhan Vahinis operated by MNS in Chira Bazar. He has participated in various MNS protests and spent six days in Arthur Road jail for his role in the vandalism of a south Mumbai store in 2008 over the Marathi signboard issue.
Divakar Padwal, 27
MNS ward president, Chira Bazar
Padwal runs an agri-products firm, and one prior case against him. Wednesday’s arrest was his first. Part of MNS since its inception, Padwal was president of its student wing until last year, when he was appointed ward president.
Rajesh Kombekar, 36
MNS ward president, Masjid Bunder
Ward president since 2006, Kombekar runs a real estate business. Wednesday’s case is the first case against him.
Sachin Gangawane, 35
MNS ex-ward president
Having joined MNS in 2008, he took part in protests but ended up on the losing side in the civic elections of 2012. He operates a transport business, and also runs a Krishi Dhan Vahini.
Srikant Goriwale, 28
MNS ward vice president, Fort
Employed with St George Hospital, this Fort resident has two prior cases against him. A long-time party member, this is the second time he has been arrested.
Rohan Chalke, Pravin Pashte and Arun Barde are vice presidents of different wards across south Mumbai.
(With inputs from Rohit Alok)