Raj Thackeray’s MNS is at it again.
Just months after his men attacked north Indian taxi drivers, vegetable vendors and even UP-born Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, MNS workers on Sunday attacked 13 railway board examination centres in and around Mumbai, protesting ‘inadequate representation’ to locals.
Not to lose the advantage, the Shiv Sena also later claimed to have joined the sons-of-the-soil agitation, with sainiks thrashing candidates in Nerul. After all, it was as part of the Shiv Sena that Raj’s men first disrupted a railway board exam, in 2003.
A number of MNS activists were arrested by the police; several candidates in parts of Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Navi Mumbai and Solapur had to be escorted to their centres in police vans.
Condemning the attacks, Railway Minister Lalu Yadav demanded a ban on the MNS, calling Thackeray a “mental case”.
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh promised stern action.
“The government will not tolerate gundagiri,” Deshmukh added. “We would have provided full security if the board had told us earlier about the exams.”
“We would have provided full security if the Board had told us earlier about the exams,” Deshmukh said after a flag off function of direct train service between his home town Latur and Mumbai.
“I have directed Police Commissioners in Mumbai and Thane to deal sternly with those taking law into their hands,” the Chief Minister said.
Meanwhile, speaking at a function in Ahmednagar district of Western Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray justified MNS agitation against north Indians, blaming the Railways for publishing the examination advertisements in newspapers which are not normally accessible to Marathi candidates.
With inputs from agencies.