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MNS men attack N Indian paani puri vendors in city

Activists of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena attacked several paani puri vendors across Mumbai and Thane on Thursday evening

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
April 15, 2011 1:07:48 am

Caught on camera* Thane vendor appears to be urinating into his jug

Activists of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) attacked several paani puri vendors across Mumbai and Thane on Thursday evening,a day after it was reported that a vendor in Thane appeared to be urinating into a jug kept on his handcart. The video had been captured with a hidden camera by a Thane resident.

Reigniting their agitation against North Indians,the MNS men attacked bhelpuri and paani puri vendors,who are mostly migrants from UP and Bihar,across areas including Fort,Colaba,Malad,Kandivli and Thane. While police patrolling was stepped up in these areas,no formal complaint was registered until Thursday evening.

At Bora Bazaar Street in Fort,known to be a haunt for street food,a group vandalised some of the most popular stalls. Dharamraj Yadav (30) was serving bhelpuri to his regular clients when he saw 20 men walking “violently” towards the stall. “I have been serving food here for over a decade and this stall is the most popular as it was started by my grandfather. We have a goodwill here. These men walked straight towards my stall,pushed my clients and started throwing my utensils and the food on the ground,” he said,adding,“One of them,who looked like their leader,yelled loudly asking who the owner of the stall is. Some of my clients pushed me away to safety. They waited for some time and then went ahead to attack other stalls.”

Other stall owners along the street were attacked in similar fashion. “They kept talking about some incident where a bhelwallah did some thing wrong. Why are we being attacked for one man’s actions? Each of us invests Rs 4,000 and upwards to buy raw materials every day. Will these men pay for it?” asked Snehal Dwivedi (28).

Thane girl Ankita Rane,who filmed a vendor in Thane,met MNS chief Raj Thackeray at his residence on Thursday. He applauded Rane for exposing the unhygienic practice and promised that his party would take up the issue.

MNS district head for South Mumbai Arvind Gawde said they were making bhelpuri vendors shut shop for selling unhygienic food. “All these are illegal stalls and are selling such bad food. The pictures were repulsive and since the BMC does not take action in the matter,we decided to make them shut shop. Our workers are out across South Mumbai,” said Gawde.

The BMC said it will intensify its drive against unauthorised food stalls in response to the Thane incident. “We typically conduct drives against unauthorised hawkers,but following this incident,we will strengthen the drive to prevent such incidents in Mumbai,” said G T Ambe,Executive Health Officer.

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