Nip Goonda Raj in the bud: Mumbai Congress

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Mumbai, Feb 9 (UNI) Mumbai Congress today urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to immediately arrest Raj Thackeray, alleging that he was running a party of goons, and criticised the city police of inaction.

Mumbai Congress President Gurudas Kamat said in a statement here today that he had demanded Mr Thackeray's arrest immediately on February 2 after the violence erupted. Raj's involvement in the violence that targeted taxi drivers and hawkers belonging to North Indian states, is evident from the media -- both print and electronic -- which reported his actions, Mr Kamat said.

In the guise of speaking for the Marathi-speaking people, Raj Thackeray had let loose his goons on North Indian people merely to be in the limelight at the cost of innocents, he added.

Mr Kamat condemned the city police top brass for not doing their duty by looking up to the government for directions. The Police Commissioner and other staff in respective areas were fully empowered to take action under the law without any hesitation. An invitation for the marriage ceremony of the Police Commissioner's daughter, which was attended by Raj Thackeray, could be excused as an invite sent much before the violent incidents but the hesitation of the city police to book Raj Thackeray and his goons under the strictest provisions was unexplainable, he said.

It is such inaction and favouritism on the part of the police force in the past which had brought the force a bad name, which at one time was rated as amongst the top police squads in the world.

''This makes people loose faith and trust in the Uniform that these officers wear,'' he said.

Mr Kamat stated that whoever was found guilty of provocative statements to incite people leading to violence and communal disharmony must be booked irrespective of the political party they belonged to.

Mr Kamat also demanded the withdrawal of security cover of such leaders who provoked and incited others as they would not dare to venture out in any agitation if left unprotected.

Mr Kamat said there should be strict directives to those police personnel, who accompany such leaders, that they should file complaints and book the leaders when they hear them giving inciting instructions over the telephone or while talking to their party cadre.

Mr Kamat stated that if the Police Commissioner was looking for evidences against Raj Thackeray or the Samajwadi Party leaders, they should call the police personnel accompanying them as security cover immediately and record their statements, or else suspend all of them first like a couple of other police officers were suspended, as this would not only help book such ''goondas'' but also discipline the force.

UNI MR GR PK RS1545

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