AT LEAST 33 party workers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), including the party’s Thane city president, were arrested in Mumbai and Thane on Monday for allegedly attacking hawkers outside railway stations in Thane Dombivli, Kalyan and Santacruz and destroying their wares on Saturday. While 28 persons were arrested by Thane police, the Mumbai Police arrested five. In all the cases, the police are looking for more accused persons.
Thane police spokesperson Sukhada Narkar said: “The Dombivli police have arrested 11 persons for attacking hawkers and destroying their wares. The accused were produced in the court and remanded in police custody for a day. They were arrested on charges of rioting and causing damage.”
Senior Inspector of Mahatma Phule police station in Kalyan P R Londhe said: “We arrested 12 persons in connection with the attack that took place at Kalyan railway station. We identified the accused on the basis of CCTV footage, video recording and some tip offs. The accused were produced in the local court and sent to judicial custody. They were eventually granted bail.”
Senior Inspector of Thane Nagar police Mandar Dharmad-hikari said: “Based on the investigation so far, we have arrested five persons. Those arrested include the MNS Thane president, Avinash Jadhav. Those who took part in the protest were identified on the basis of CCTV camera footage. We are still on the lookout for three other accused persons who were seen in the footage.”
Domivli, Mahatma Phule and Thane Nagar police stations are under Thane police.
Senior Inspector of Vakola police station Kailashchandra Awhad said: “Following the rioting outside Santacruz railway station, we arrested four persons, including MNS youth wing leader Akhil Chitre, on charges of rioting. The accused were produced in the court and sent to judicial custody. We are still on the lookout for 10-15 persons seen participating in the act.”
The incidents took place two weeks after MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressed a gathering outside the Churchgate railway station following last month’s stampede at Elphinstone Road station that left 23 people dead. Thackeray had announced an ultimatum to the Western Railway giving it 15 days to clear foot overbridges at stations of illegal hawkers failing which his party workers would forcibly evict them.