The security measures in the Mantralaya were badly exposed when over 100 social and political activists staged demonstration on Wednesday right in front of the chief minister's sixth floor office where the Cabinet meeting was being held, protesting against the killing of four members of a Dalit family in Khairlanji village in eastern Vidarbha district of Bhandara.
The police salvaged some lost pride when they prevented protestors from entering the CMO and adjoining Cabinet meeting hall. Over 100 activists, half of them women, were arrested.
The activists belonging to the People's Republican Party and Phule-Ambedkar Mahila Chalawal entered the Mantralaya in small groups after 2 pm. They assembled in front of CMO by 2.30 pm and started their agitation in full view of the electronic and print media.
They shouted anti-government, anti-CM and anti-deputy CM slogans demanding strict action against the upper caste people allegedly involved in the killing early last month.
The agitation, initially started in Vidarbha, spilled over to Mumbai's political powerhouse taking all the ministers present by surprise.
In the last two days, the Vidarbha towns Nagpur, Kamptee and Yavatmal witnessed violent protests. Curfews were imposed in all three towns. The reserve police companies were roped in to control the violence.
Although Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh didn't react, his deputy RR Patil said it was a political stunt. "I don't understand why these people are reacting 40 days after the killing occurred. The police is investigating properly. We're ready to hand over the probe to CBI (Central Bureau of Investigations) if necessary."
Patil even linked the protest in Yavatmal district to the Naxalites. "I've information that the Naxalites have instigated the protestors to violent attacks on police." The police have arrested some 44 accused so far and four local policemen have been suspended for dereliction of duty.