Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Sunday said desecration of the statute of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's late wife Meenatai was not linked to violence in Bhiwandi in Thane district, which witnessed protests against construction of a police station adjacent to a mosque.
"It is not proper to link both incidents as government treats them to be two different happenings which have no link to each other," Deshmukh told journalists, after chairing a high-level meeting of bureaucrats to review law and order in the State against the backdrop of the post-desecration violence.
The first priority of the government would be to re-establish law and order and investigations to identify the culprits involved in the desecration will follow suit, he said.
Terming the incident as "unfortunate", he called upon the people to maintain peace and said although it was an emotional issue, people should not take law and order into their hands.
Deshmukh said persons claiming to be Shiv Sainiks had staged rasta-roko (road blocks) in 35 places in Mumbai and damaged 38 state transport buses all over Maharashtra.
He said two buses were set ablaze in Nashik and Mumbai and protests were organised in Nanded, Satara, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts.
The Chief Minister said over 500 people were arrested in the state of which 46 were from Mumbai.