Amid high drama and media frenzy, Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut, who has been involved in a spat with Shiv Sena over her recent remarks comparing Mumbai with PoK, returned to the city even as the Bombay High Court stayed the demolition process initiated by the BMC for alleged illegal construction at the actor’s Pali Hill office.
Upon her arrival from her hometown in Himachal Pradesh, Kangana, who has been given Y-plus category security from the Centre, fired a fresh salvo at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying his “ego will be destroyed” the way her Bandra home was demolished.
“Uddhav Thackeray tujhe kya lagta hai? (what do you think?) My home was demolished today, your arrogance will crumble tomorrow. Thus is the wheel of time, it keeps changing,” she said in video message.
Kangana Ranaut and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut have been involved in a war of words after the actress had earlier compared “Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK)” and said she “feared Mumbai Police more than the movie mafia”.
Earlier in the day, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) team demolished “illegal alterations” at the actress’ bungalow at Pali Hill in Bandra with a bulldozer and excavators. However, the HC expressed displeasure and stayed the demolition process after Ranaut moved the court challenging the notice issued by the Mumbai civic body. Ranaut had purchased the bungalow in 2017 and had renovated it in January this year.
The BMC on Tuesday had issued a “stop-work” notice to Ranaut for alleged illegal construction, under section 354(A) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, to stop the ongoing work inside the premises and produce the permissions for the illegal constructions. Reactions from political leaders in support and opposition of the actor kept pouring in.
Here’s how the events unfolded throughout the day:
BMC starts demolition, then stops
The BMC began demolition work shortly after 11 am. A BMC team reached the bungalow at Pali Hill in Bandra with bulldozer and excavators and demolished alterations made sans the civic body’s approval.
Soon after, Ranaut tweeted, “I am never wrong and my enemies prove again and again this is why my Mumbai is POK now.” She also posted photos of BMC staff engaged in the demolition work at the bungalow, which she had purchased for Rs 20 crore in 2017.
Before the demolition work on Wednesday, the BMC posted a second notice outside her bungalow, informing her of the action being taken by the civic body, an official told PTI.
Kangana then moved the Bombay High Court, challenging the notice issued by the Mumbai civic body for “illegal construction” at her bungalow and sought a stay on the demolition process.
Later in the day, a division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla stayed the demolition process and directed the civic body to file an affidavit in response to the plea. The court posted the matter for hearing on Thursday.
“We cannot help but mention here that if the MCGM would act with similar swiftness qua the numerous unauthorized constructions, the City would be a completely different place to live in,” the bench said.
“The corporation appears to have overnight woken up from its slumber, issued notice to the petitioner (Ranaut), that too when she is out of the state, directing her to respond within 24 hours, and not granting her any further time, despite written request, and proceeding to demolish the said Premises upon completion of 24 hours…though the manner in which the BMC has proceeded to commence demolition work of the said premises, prima facie does not appear to be bonafide and smacks of malafide,” the bench said.
— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) September 9, 2020
Kangana said the civic body should focus on the shoddy state of roads instead of targeting her bungalow. “BMC, these are mumbai road and all you are concerned about is DEMOLITION of an actress house who is exposing mafia. KUDOS to you..!! #DeathOfDemocracy,” Kangana tweeted. She also posted a photo of a Mumbai road riddled with several potholes.
Shiv Sena shows black flags to Kangana
Kangana reached Chandigarh airport in the morning to board a commercial flight to Mumbai. The ‘Queen’ actor reached Mumbai at 2:30 pm and was greeted with black flags and slogans from protesting Shiv Sena workers. But there was support too from workers of the RPI(A) and Karni Sena, who also gathered at the airport.
Later, she posted a video message on her social media, addressing Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, where she said his “ego will be destroyed” the way her Bandra home was demolished.
“Uddhav Thackeray, ‘tujhe kya lagta hai’ (what do you think)?. You think you have taken a huge revenge by destroying my house in collusion with the movie mafia. Today my house is destroyed, tomorrow it will be your ego. The wheels of time keep changing,? she said in a video message in Hindi.
“Uddhav Thackeray, this cruelty and terrorism, it is good that it happened to me because there is some meaning to it,” she said in the video.
— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) September 9, 2020
The actor said she was working on a project on Ayodhya but now understands the pain of Kashmir Pandits and will also make a movie on their plight. “… also government has banned any demolitions in Covid till September 30, Bullywood watch now this is what Fascism looks like #DeathOfDemocracy #KanganaRanaut,” the actor tweeted.
Amid a row over BMC demolishing parts of Ranaut’s Pali Hill office, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar Wednesday said illegal construction in Mumbai was not a new thing and the action by the civic body in view of the present situation “gives space for creating doubts in the minds of people”.
“I do not have much information on the action taken by the BMC. However, illegal construction in Mumbai is not a new thing. In view of the present situation, taking action gives space for creating doubts in the minds of people. The BMC has its own rules and officers may have taken action as per what they felt was right,” Pawar, whose party is part of the ruling alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, said.
Without naming the Bollywood actress, Pawar also said undue importance was being attached to the statements made by Ranaut, claiming people were not taking her remarks seriously.
“We give undue importance to people who make such statements. We need to see the impact of such statements. In my opinion, people do not take such comments seriously. The people of Mumbai and Maharashtra know the efficiency of the Mumbai Police,” he said.
“If someone talks about equivalence with Pakistan, there is no need to take the person seriously and no need to pay heed to such people,” Pawar said.
BJP, Shiv Sena react to Bombay HC order
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar said the Shiv Sena-controlled BMC showed promptness in demolishing parts of the actress bungalow. “The action has been taken out of revenge,” PTI quoted him as saying.
He asked the BMC why action was not taken last year when the structure was built, if it is illegal. “This shows you will be saved if you come with us (the ruling party). Action will be taken, if you dont. That is their approach. The MVA government led by Thackeray is playing politics of vendetta,” Shelar alleged.
He further said illegal constructions have come up some metres away from the chief ministers residence. “But we cant see action being taken there. It is unfortunate that action is being taken only selectively. This is an egoistic government,” he said.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted, “Tell Kangana to keep the faith. We are with her in this struggle.”
Maharashtra NCP president and Irrigation Minister Jayant Patil tweeted that some ‘people’ comparing “this great city and our police force to that of Pakistan is outlandish” and it is just to “gain publicity and limelight”.
“It is painful to come across people who are not grateful to what Mumbai and Maharashtra has to offer – in terms of the opportunities, women safety and tolerance,” he said.
“Mumbai is the mother that does not discriminate. Let us all be respectful to the spirit of Mumbai and the dignity of the elected offices of the state,” he added.
— Jayant Patil (@Jayant_R_Patil) September 9, 2020
Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur condemned BMC’s action, saying she ‘is a daughter’ of the state and she should get a ‘proper atmosphere’ to work in her field.
Speaking in State Assembly, Thakur said his government has provided security at Ranaut’s Manali residence and 11 CRPF commandos would accompany her wherever she would go in the country as part of the Y-plus security provided by the Centre. Himachal Pradesh will do its best to ensure her security, he added.
“Kangana is a daughter of Himachal Pradesh and she has brought laurels not only to the state but to the entire country,” he said in the assembly, adding she should get proper atmosphere to work in her field.
Kangana’s lawyer says BMC lying about illegal construction
Kangana’s lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui claimed the BMC was lying about illegal construction at the bungalow. “The BMC is lying. It’s lying on record (about illegal construction at the bungalow). They said they have given stop-work notice. But such notice is given when the construction process is underway,” PTI quoted him as saying.
“There is no construction going on at the place. It was over about one-and-a-half years ago,” he added.
Siddiqui said the BMC officials did not stop the process even after being told that Kangana had moved the Bombay High Court against the demolition.
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