Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil had some damage control to do a day after the police lathi charged visually impaired protestors at Azad Maidan on Monday.
At a press conference held on Tuesday, Patil condemned the lathi-charge and apologized for the incident.
“The behaviour of the police was not justified,” Patil admitted. “They could have handled the situation in a better way.” The visually impaired citizens had gathered to protest against being denied jobs by the government when the police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the crowd.
“I ask for them (the protestors) to forgive me for the incident,” Patil added. “I will personally meet them to sort out their problems.”
The Opposition jumped at this opportunity to criticize the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Part alliance and the police. In a press statement, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Madhu Chavan said his party would take up the matter during the forthcoming assembly session at Nagpur. “The government will have to have an answer for this,” Chavan said, labeling the lathi charge as a symbol of the government’s apathy towards the visually impaired.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) went a step ahead and included the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in the municipal corporation in its criticism saying that these parties had also neglected the visually impaired. In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, MNS leader Shishir Shinde alleged that the civic body had failed to provide proper employment to the visually impaired. “It is a matter of shame for the state government,” Shinde said, adding that the MNS would meet representatives of associations of visually impaired persons and try to get them justice.