The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has warned that it is not going to stop beating up errant auto drivers, a day after it took the drivers to task following Raj Thackeray’s call for a “people’s agitation”.
In fact, party leaders said they are preparing a long-term plan to “create fear in the minds of errant drivers”. There were no reports of violence on Thursday.
On Friday, members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena (MNVS) will act on complaints from people in Kurla and Thane. “We received many complaints that drivers outside Kurla terminus and at the Anand Nagar check post in Thane refuse fares and charge three-fold from passengers,” said Haji Arfat Shaikh, president, MNVS. “We will depute members at these spots from Friday morning. If there are refusals, the Sion incident [where a driver was assaulted] will be repeated.”
At least four drivers were beaten up and four autos damaged on Wednesday after the MNS, followed by the Shiv Sena, started the violent agitation against errant drivers.
Shaikh said the auto drivers need to be taught a lesson. “The drivers are rude and don’t fear anyone. They fleece, refuse and overcharge commuters. Soon, they will fear the MNS and behave,” he said.
Sharad Rao’s Mumbai Auto Rickshaw Men’s Union, is now planning to take up the issue with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and home minister RR Patil. “We will take a decision at the union meeting on Friday. We will take up the case of victimised auto drivers irrespective of whether they belong to our party or not, but we have to decide which minister to approach,” said Shashank Rao, assistant general secretary of the union.
Sharad Rao said his union will demand action against Raj Thackeray.