Mumbai, Feb 13: Police is likely to arrest Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray later today for allegedly disturbing harmony among different communities in the city. Police have already reached Raj's residence and reportedly recording statement of Raj. Raj is expected to be taken to Vikhroli court after arrest. State Home Department has already given the nod for the arrest.
Stray incidents of stone throwing and arson were reported in this metropolis and other parts of the state as the campaign against north Indians by the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) entered the tenth day today. Police said last night three taxis, a BEST bus were damaged in the stone pelting and a bike was set on fire at Goregaon, Bhoiwada, Deonar and Bhandup area respectively in the metropolis.
Police have registered cases but no arrest had been made so far. Panic prevailed in other cities including Nashik, Pune and Solapur as North Indians were leaving for their native places following continued incidents of assaults by the MNS workers in the state.
Mr Bhagwat Singh, having taxi business said due to fear drivers' preferred to stay at home and some of them were planning to go back to their native place. Taxis were parked at the stands.
The Mumbai Police had lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against Raj on Monday. The FIR was registered at Vikroli police station. Raj is booked under non-bailable Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for inciting voilence in the city. Mumbai was rocked by voilence on Februaury 3 when Raj had outraged people from Bihar by calling the Chhat festival a 'drama'. The Raj Thackeray-led MNS has been targeting north Indian migrants living in the metropolis and taken objection to celebrations like Chhat puja and Uttar Pradesh Diwas in Maharashtra.
He also criticised film star Amitabh Bachchan, calling him an out and out regionalist, for favouring Uttar Pradesh over Maharashtra. He scathingly referred to West Bengal's Communists as non-liberal and unsecular.
He criticised English and Hindi language journalists while addressing a press conference, for reporting in a biased manner on his activities over the last few days on Saturday.
Barring both English and Hindi language journalists from a "Marathi only" press conference, Raj appeared more obstinate than ever on his insistence that those wanting to live in Maharashtra should adopt the ways of Maharashtrians.
Earlier, violence had rocked Maharashtra as the Samajwadi Party (SP), which is largely based in Uttar Pradesh, took out a rally despite the threat of disruption by Thackeray.