North Indian attacks: Raj Thackeray to surrender before court on Monday

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Mumbai, June 28 (ANI): Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray will surrender before a Kalyan court on Monday in connection with his role in a 2008 riot case in which North Indians appearing for railway recruitment examination were assaulted.

After presenting himself before the court, Thackeray is expected to move an application saying he was surrendering, his lawyer Sayaji Nangre said.

Thackeray would then move an application for bail.

The Bombay High Court had on June 16 set aside an anticipatory bail granted to Thackeray in the same case by a lower court and asked him to surrender before the court concerned by June end.

The state government had filed an appeal in the high court challenging the grant of interim anticipatory bail to Thackeray.

Justice Rekha Sondurbaldota had then noted that custodial interrogation of Thackeray was not necessary at this stage.

Upholding the state government's contention that Kalyan Sessions Court's order granting anticipatory bail to the MNS chief had become infructuous as the Railway police had already arrested him, the High Court quashed the lower court order granting interim protection to Thackeray.

It maybe recalled that MNS and Shiv Sena activists attacked 17 railway board examination centres in suburban Mumbai on October 19 last year, protesting "inadequate representation" to locals and chased away candidates from north India.

Ten people were arrested then for disrupting the examination and targeting candidates. Five candidates were admitted to hospitals in Thane and Kalyan following the assault.

Condemning the attack, then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad demanded a ban on the MNS, calling Raj Thackeray a "mental case".

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told then Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to ensure the safety of students from Bihar.

He called the MNS "a divisive force" and demanded strong action against it.

Railway officials said they had received over two lakh applications for posts of Enquiry-cum-Reservation Clerk, Assistant Station Master and Goods Guards. While they did not give numbers for those who finally took the examination, officials said the turnout was low in view of the MNS threat.

Defending the attacks, MNS spokesperson Nitin Sardesai said: "It's been happening for years now and the locals have not been getting jobs adequately in the Railways. When there are enough people, both skilled and unskilled, who could be employed, why call people from other states."

When it was pointed out that the Shiv Sena too had carried out attacks in Navi Mumbai, he said: "When we do something, they have to copy us." (ANI)

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