'Outsiders' on edge, gag order on Raj ends today
The north Indian community fears Raj Thackeray would once again spew venom against them once the gag order on him will be lifted, reports Naresh Kamath.india Updated: Feb 25, 2008 00:44 IST
On Monday the gag order on Raj Thackeray will end, there have been alarm bells ringing in the north Indian community in the city. The fear is mainly widespread among taxi drivers and street vendors, who have been the target of violence perpetrated by Raj's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena a fortnight ago.
The community fears Raj Thackeray would once again spew venom against them once the gag order on him will be lifted.
"I will not ply on Monday as I fear violence," said Nirmal Singh (name changed) a taxi driver from Sewri. "It is not worth the risk as a single stone on my taxi would result in a loss of thousands," he added.
While the dominant Mumbai Taximen's Union has asked their members not to fear, the Sena-led taxi union has asked their members to be cautious. "We have told our members not to venture out if they find any danger," said an office bearer requesting anonymity.
vendor at Dadar said he would take a holiday. "There is nothing you can do against groups that just use violence," said Pyaarelal Sharma, a native of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh who has been in the business for the last five years.
The activists of Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad (UBVP) have been holding meetings over the week and mobilising their cadres. "Our activists would not retaliate but catch anyone harassing the poor and hand them over to the police," said Mangleshwar Tripathi, President, UBVP. He said UBVP has 80,000 activists in Mumbai.
Early this month, Raj Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had allegedly attacked 10 taxis and scores of north Indians vendors were beaten up.
"How can I predict whether any violence would take place in future," said Shirish Parkar, spokesperson, MNS. "We are concerned with Rajsaheb's case," he added.
Last week Raj Thackeray had challenged the gag order in the sessions court and the hearing is scheduled on Monday.