Angry villagers attack MP, legislator near Mumbai
A Member of Parliament from Maharashtra and a legislator were assaulted late on Sunday night by villagers opposed to the upgradation of villages and local councils into a municipal corporation, police said on Monday.india Updated: Aug 10, 2009 14:37 IST
A Member of Parliament from Maharashtra and a legislator were assaulted late on Sunday night by villagers opposed to the upgradation of villages and local councils into a municipal corporation, police said on Monday.
According to an official of Vasai Police station, the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) MP Baliram Jadhav and party legislator Hitendra Thakur were moving around the Wagholi village, near Nalla Sopara in Thane district, trying to convince villagers to support the civic upgradation proposal.
However, defiant villagers attacked their vehicle and assaulted the two law-makers with stones and sticks, injuring them badly, police said.
They were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment even as the villagers went on a rampage and destroyed over a dozen vehicles and some shops nearby.
Nalla Sopara is around 25 km north of Mumbai in the adjoining Thane district, and the eco-sensitive Virar-Vasai belt is the stronghold of Thakur, who is known as "Bhai (brother) Thakur" in the region.
The Shramgiri Sanghatana, which is spearheading the anti-upgradation agitation, has alleged that Thakur slapped a woman protestor which provoked the attack on the duo.
"They were trying to intimidate the villagers into accepting the upgradation proposal and threatening them against joining a shutdown in Vasai-Nalla Sopara on Monday. When the villagers failed to bow down, Thakur slapped one of the women," claimed Thane Zilla Parishad Member Dominica Dabre, of the Shramgiri Sanghatana.
The entire Vasai-Nalla Sopara belt on Monday observed a spontaneous shutdown since midnight with all shops, commercial establishments, educational institutions, public and private modes of transport closed for the day.
The police have rushed additional forces, including the State Reserve Police, to the area to maintain law and order.
BVA activist Jitubhai Shah alleged that the opposition to the civic upgradation move was "politically inspired" and the attacks on Jadhav and Thakur were "communally motivated" by vested elements seeking to gain mileage with assembly elections round the corner.
Dabre said that since Sunday, six activists of Shramgiri Sanghatana, including its founder Vivek Pandit, have launched an indefinite hunger strike to protest the merger of the four municipal councils and 53 surrounding villages into a monolithic Virar-Vasai municipal corporation.