The police took pre-emptive action before arresting Raj Thackeray by detaining nearly 500 MNS activists on Tuesday to ensure the city remained peaceful after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief’s detention. Yet stray incidents of violence were reported and shops were forced to down shutters.
Commissioner of Police D.N. Jadhav said 481 MNS activists were detained late on Tuesday as a preventive measure, taking the total number of political party workers under arrest since last week to 1,071. On Wednesday, about 150 more MNS workers were detained after Raj’s arrest.
“As far as today’s arrests are concerned, all aspects were well considered,” said additional chief secretary (home) Chitkala Zutshi. “The state is prepared to deal with any eventuality.”
Other than its 40,000-strong police force, the state Reserve Police Force and 600 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were pressed into service since Tuesday.
“Minor incidents of stone pelting and two cases of vehicles being torched were reported,” said Jadhav. “Heavy deployment of security forces will continue.”
Vehicles on the Western Express Highway were pelted in the Jogeshwari-Dahisar stretch. A taxi was torched in Dadar while a truck was set ablaze near Gokulanand Hotel in Dahisar. The windshield of a Karnataka-bound bus was smashed at Kalamboli on the Sion-Panvel Highway.
Shops were forced to down shutters in Shivaji Park, Dadar, Lower Parel, Worli, Bhandup and Kurla. “I was scared there might be violence and so I shut my shop,” said Jatin Prasad, who owns a hardware store in Dadar. “I was not going to open it at all in anticipation of Raj’s arrest.”
Buses, trains and Taxis
A BEST spokesperson said a bus in Santacruz and one in Mulund were stoned. The Western Railways chief spokesperson said the windshield of a motorman’s coach was broke in a stone pelting incident between Malad and Goregaon stations at 5 pm. Services on the Central line were unaffected.
Many taxis went off the roads while drivers for the second shift didn’t report for work, said A.L. Quadros of Mumbai Taximen’s Union.
(Inputs from Rajendra Aklekar & Soubhik Mitra)