Man wanting to meet Raj Thackeray shot down by police

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Mumbai, Oct 27 (UNI) An armed man, hailing from Bihar, who had come down to the city in search of a job and wanted to meet Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray, was gunned down by police in an exchange of fire.

The assailant, identified as Rahul Raj, had come down to the city on October 24 in search of a job. This morning, he boarded a double-decker bus number 332, plying from Kurla to Andheri station, at Sakinaka. Near Bailbazaar, in the eastern suburb of Kurla, he allegedly started shouting that he had come down to eliminate Raj Thackeray.

When the bus conductor asked for a ticket or monthly pass, he tied the latter's hands and allegedly fired a few rounds in the air.

''He was shouting, 'Mai Patna se aaya hu, muze kisi ko kuchh nahi karna hai, mai MNS president Raj Thackeray ko message dena chahata hu' (I have come from Patna. I do not want to harm anyone, I only want to pass on a message to Mr Thackeray),'' BEST General Manager Uttam Khobragade said.

He further said at that time, another condutor from the same bus rushed to a nearby police station and informed them about the incident.

Police came and cordoned off the bus, and they asked him to surrender. Instead, he allegedly fired at a police team. In the retaliatory firing that ensued, he suffered head and chest injuries and collapsed on the ground.

The injured assailant was admitted to civic-run Rajawadi Hospital at Ghatkopar, where he was declared dead on admission.

A passenger also suffered bullet injuries in the shootout that occurred in the double-decker bus.

The injured passenger has been identified as Manoj Bhagat and is admitted in Rajawadi Hospital. He is stated to be out of danger, hospital sources said.

BEST committee chairman Praveen Chheda told newspersons outside the hospital that the undertaking will provide all medical assistance to the victim. He further said they will also install CCTVs in all the buses across the city.

The BEST will also give rewards to conductor and driver of the bus.

The incident has caused a nationwide furore, with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar alleging that Rahul could have been arrested and there was no need to shoot him down.

Recently, some youths from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had come down to the city to appear for Railway Board examination on October 19.

They were allegedly assaulted by the MNS activists.

Thereafter, Raj Thackeray was arrested from Ratnagiri. His arrest led to state-wide protests by the MNS activists, who resorted to stone pelting and arson for his release.


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