Law no bar for lawmakershttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/law-no-bar-for-lawmakers/

Law no bar for lawmakers

From abusing a traffic cop or beating up a civic engineer,they were clearly on the rampage

From abusing a traffic cop or a civic engineer and later thrashing him,to misbehaving with citizens; some city politicians did exactly what they are supposed to stop others from doing — breaking the law.

The year started with Shiv Sainiks having their way by constructing a garden memorial for late Sena chief Bal Thackeray inside Shivaji Park premises despite resistance from residents,heritage conservation norms and coastal regulation zone (CRZ) rules. With a go-ahead from the state,the Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) constructed the memorial well in time before Thackeray’s birth anniversary on January 23. Residents’ pleas that Shivaji Park is the only open space in this part of the city and hence should be free of any construction,went unheard.

However,the most notorious incident of unabashed high-handedness came during the budget session of the Maharashtra legislature when on March 18,Nalasopara MLA Kshitij Thakur from the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi,abused Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Suryawanshi after he was stopped and fined for over-speeding along the Bandra-Worli sea link. Thakur,who flaunted his MLA card and refused to pay the fine,claimed Suryawanshi was “rude” and that the incident amounted to breach of privilege.

Later,when Suryawanshi was in the Vidhan Bhavan during the proceeding of the breach of privilege motion,he was beaten up by four MLAs outside the visitor’s gallery. Jaykumar Raval of BJP,Ram Kadam of MNS and Independent MLA Pradeep Jayaswal slapped and punched Suryawanshi. The policeman had to be taken to St George Hospital on a stretcher.

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While Kadam and Thakur were arrested,they were released on bail on March 25. All four MLAs were suspended,but the state government found it reasonable to punish Suryawanshi too by suspending him for “misbehaving”. In fact,he was transferred to Sangli for having done his duty.

Both sons of Congressman and Industries Minister Narayan Rane arm-twisted the law. While elder son Nilesh,a Lok Sabha MP,misbehaved with volunteer traffic warden Anhita Lobo in Khar on January 28,younger son Nitesh was arrested by Goa police for assaulting employees of a toll plaza in Goa when asked to pay toll. In a clear case of political pressure,the traffic police terminated Lobo’s services in April. She had been voluntarily manning traffic in the area for the past 20 years.

In July this year,MNS workers,led by corporator from Dadar Sandeep Deshpande,held BMC engineers captive for over five hours until potholes in the area were fixed by the administration.

In yet another similar incident,MNS corporator Girish Dhanurkar allegedly beat up BMC engineer Rajesh Rathod for not responding to “repeated” complaints about a temporary shed that was illegally constructed outside Dhanurkar’s office. Rathod suffered ear and hip injuries and had to be admitted in Sion Hospital.

After the assault on its civic engineer,BMC immediately registered a first information report (FIR) in Dadar police station against Dhanurkar and four of his accomplices,who were arrested and later released on bail.

stuti.shukla@expressindia.com

sharvari.patwa@expressindia.com

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