Patil meets Sonia to apprise of Maharashtra situation

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New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) Home Minister Shivraj Patil today met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and apprised her of the situation in Maharashtra where large scale violence against North Indians has broken out on the instigation of the Maharashtra Navnirman Samiti (MNS).

The ten-minute-long one-on-one meeting between the UPA Chairperson and Mr Patil is significant in view of the imminent arrest of MNS President Raj Thackeray. The situation in Mumbai and many other parts of the state is tense following violence, the possibility of arrest of Mr Thackeray and the apprehensions of retaliation by the of MNS activists.

Meanwhile, Mr Patil reportedly also spoke to senior police officials of Maharashtra and directed them to take all steps to restore peace and tranquility in the state. The Centre had yesterday decided to send paramilitary forces to Maharashtra on the state government's request to help the state police in maintenance of peace in the state.

The Centre had repeatedly asked the state government to take steps to ensure peace in the state in view of the ''conspiracy by a political party.'' However, the Vilasrao Deshmukh Government first took the view of the Advocate General about the possibility of arresting Mr Thackeray and the state police is conducting an investigation into the matter.

Since yesterday the area around Mr Thackeray's residence has been cardoned off giving rise to speculation about his imminent arrest.

Security blanket has been thrown in Mumbai and additional forces of Rapid Action Force were called in the city to maintain law and order, following continued incidents of stone-pelting across the city for the past ten days.

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