A day after several party workers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena attacked hawkers and destroyed their wares outside Thane, Kalyan and Dombivali railways stations, police said the men had been identified and would be caught soon. On Saturday morning, according to the police, 25 MNS workers broke apart stalls belonging to hawkers at the three railway stations. The police said the men thrashed hawkers and threatened them with dire consequences if they returned.
At Thane railway station, said the police, 10-12 slogan-shouting men forcibly evicted the hawkers who had stalls placed between the state transport bus stand and the entrance of the station, before climbing the foot overbridge and demolishing makeshift stalls. According to the police, the MNS workers also warned autorickshaw drivers plying outside the station to not line up there.
Complaints were lodged at Thane Nagar and Naupada police stations Saturday and the men were booked on charges of rioting, unlawful assembly and criminal intimidation. “We have identified the accused who are all locals. We will arrest them soon,” said M V Dharmadhikari, senior inspector, Thane Nagar police station.
A complaint was also registered against 11 party workers at Manickpuar police station in Vasai after they allegedly vandalised stalls outside the Vasai railway station Saturday afternoon and assaulted several hawkers. The police said no arrest had been made in the matter.
Saturday’s act of violence came two weeks after MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressed a large gathering outside the Churchgate railway station in the aftermath of last month’s stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station that left 23 people dead. Thackeray had delivered 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.