Violence abates, Mah Govt assures action against Raj

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Mumbai, Feb 7 (UNI) The violence unleashed by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists in the metropolis and other parts of the state for the past few days against members of North Indian community has gradually abated, with the government assuring to take action against its chief Raj Thackery, if found guilty.

In an incident in the metropolis, around 15 MNS workers allegedly attacked and ransacked the Mumbai Taximen's Union office at Tardeo here today. However, an MNS leader denied his party was involved.

While speaking to reporters, Union general secretary A L Quadros alleged that ten to fifteen people had entered the office around noon and, thereafter, ransacked the office and assaulted the two employees.

He further alleged that the miscreants were MNS workers as they raised the slogan ''Raj Thackeray Zindabad''.

During the last couple of days, 40 to 50 taxis were damaged by MNS workers, while around 20 taxi drivers were injured, Mr Quadros claimed.

To protest the incident, the Taximen's Union had announced a strike, which evoked a mixed response. After the call was given, most cabbies remained off the road but after Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R R Patil assured a delegation of the Taxi Union, which met him today, that the state would provide full security to the taximen, most of the cabs were back on the road in no time.

Denying the incident, party spokesperson Shishir Shinde said ''The news of attack is totally baseless and beyond truth. None of our party workers indulged in any such act.'' Meanwhile, the Mumbai police today arrested three senior MNS leaders for allegedly unleashing violence against North Indian migrants in the city. Among the arrested were party's general secretaries Nitin Sardesai and Pravin Darekar and student wing's leader Aditya Shirodkar, who were taken into custody from the party office at Rajgad and in Dadar, Central Mumbai.

The state government has sought legal opinion from the state Advocate General over action against MNS chief Raj Thackeray for his alleged provocative remarks against North Indians that sparked off the violence in the metropolis. The report is still awaited.

When contacted, Adovate General Ravi Kadam, who is examining the case, refused to make any comment on the matter, saying the papers are under examination and the same will be forwarded to the state within the stipulated time.

In the related development, K L Prasad, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), told mediapersons, ''so far, we have not decided to book Raj in any case but we are also examining the relevant evidence in this case''.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R R Patil today said the investigations were on to find concrete evidence against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Abu Asim Azmi for their alleged role in inciting violence in the Metropolis and following that arrests will take place.

Explaining the delay in gathering evidence against Mr Thackeray, he said the police have already sought recordings of speeches and clips of his speeches from the television channels.

At Pune, a MNS taluka president Sandeep alias Anna Laxman Bandal was shot dead by unidentified persons in auburban Kothrud here today.

Meanwhile, Raj Thackeray, who is under fire from several quarters over his remarks against megastar Amitabh Bachchan and the subsequent violence unleashed by his partymen against the North Indians in the last couple of days, is said to have left for Pune to fulfil a 'prior' commitment.


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