HOURS AFTER Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray called for a “Modi-mukt Bharat” at an event on Sunday, his party workers allegedly vandalised Gujarati-run establishments in Mumbai and its outskirts. On Sunday evening, Thackeray had addressed party workers at a rally in Shivaji Park on the occasion of Gudi Padwa. A group of MNS workers, on their way home to Boisar and Palghar early on Monday, allegedly tore off signboards of three restaurants on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway in Vasai.
Police said the incident took place in Satiwali on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday. “There are three restaurants in a row that had Kathiyawadi written on flex boards, in English and Gujarati. The MNS workers, who were going home, got out of their cars and tore off the flex boards,” said Inspector Sanjay Hajare of Valiv police station. He added that no one was hurt during the incident. Hrishikesh Vaidya, founder of the citizens’ group, Aamchi Vasai, added that there was no tension in the area as a result of the vandalism.
Police said six to seven men were involved in the incident and have been booked for rioting, trespass and mischief. “We have identified a few of them and will arrest them soon,” said Raj Tilak Roshan, additional superintendent of police, Vasai. Meanwhile, nine to ten MNS workers were also booked in Kandivali for allegedly tearing off the poster of a shop owned by a Gujarati on M G Road. The police said four persons have been arrested so far.
In July last year, too, MNS party workers had allegedly forcibly removed signboards printed in Gujarati from two shops in Mahim.