Barely 36 hours since Chief Minister Ashok Chavan assured over 800 residents in Juhu his government “would not spare any effort” to protect citizens, he has been proved wrong.
Former Congress corporator Prakash Bobadi, “on behalf of the Bandra Taluka Congress (I)”, on Saturday filed first information reports (FIRs) at the Khar police station against citizen activists Aftab Siddiqui from Khar Area Local Management (ALM) 144 and Anandini Thakoor from the Khar Residents’ Association.
Bobadi filed cases of unlawful procession and actions leading to rioting against the two who had been part of a rally, held on Friday evening by residents’ organisation Jagruth Nagrik Manch (JNM), in which a 50-strong gathering went down SV Road garlanding illegal political hoardings from Bandra’s Nandi Galli (Lucky Hotel) to the Khar railway station.
Siddiqui and Thakoor denied the charges against them.
Bobadi said the party was offended by the garlanding of its politicians, who were still alive. “If they thought it was illegal, then they should have removed the hoardings completely,” he said.
Bobadi added that it is the job of the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) and the police, and not citizens to keep this in check.
Siddiqui contested Bobadi’s claims.
“We did not tear or deface any of the politicians’ photos. The rally was conducted with police permissions and after sending letters to the Mayor and Superintendent of Licenses. We even had a police jeep with our rally, in which we put our JNM stickers and garlanded every political hoarding, irrespective of parties,” she said.
She added that at night on that day she found the police outside her home. “I found out that Congress workers were protesting against our rally and were shouting against us,” she said.
Thakoor, too, said there were some policemen and a van outside her home at night and that she found her building gate locked.
“I was a part of the rally but was travelling mostly in my car because of my ill-health,” she said. “I think it is not justified to target individuals like me when what we did was within the law.”
Senior Police Inspector Ajit Sawant confirmed the FIRs, but refused to divulge details.