Political parties fined for bandh damages | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Political parties fined for bandh damages

mumbai Updated: Sep 04, 2010 02:42 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

The July 5 Bharat bandh called by the Opposition will cost the Shiv Sena dearly.

The state government has begun the process to collect money from miscreants for causing damage to public property in the 12-hour long strike for price rise.

Over 100 Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses, besides 200-odd city corporation buses in Mumbai and Pune, and private showrooms, offices and some petrol pumps were damaged on July 5.

Shiv Sena activists, who went on the rampage vandalising public buses, will have to pay Rs 8.50 lakh for causing damages in various districts, including the city.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has got off with a lighter fine of Rs 1.76 lakh.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which took a backseat in the bandh, will only have to pay Rs 33,500.

The damages have been assessed by superintendents of police of all the districts and collated by the home department. Hindustan Times accessed these reports.

The assessment of damages has been forwarded to district collectors. Collectors will collect damages from individual activists of the parties and from the party, where activists have not been identified.

"This should work as a deterrent to political activists who are rarely punished for causing public damage," said a senior revenue official on condition of anonymity.

Political activists are already whining because of the whiplash from the state as parent parties have given clear instructions that individual members and not the party will pay the penalty.

The total public and private damage has been estimated at around Rs 17.41 lakh by the home department.

And, majority of the damages may go unpaid as miscreants in many cases have not been identified.

"The bandh was called for the citizens and our workers are willing to pay this cost. In cases where activists can't pay, the party will pay the penalty. But, it's a shame that the government is stamping out democratic protests by charging such fines," said Vinod Tawde, spokesperson for the BJP.

Pune saw maximum damage to public property at Rs 8.06 lakh.

Shiv Sena's damages bill has gone up largely because a Pune bus was completely torched at an incident in Kothrud and the party activists will have to pay for the cost of this bus valued at Rs 5 lakh.

In Mumbai, damage to BEST buses was estimated by the Mumbai police at Rs 5.69 lakh. Shiv Sena activists damaged public buses in the city and have to pay a penalty of Rs 1.87 lakh.

BJP activists wrecked maximum damage in Nagpur, Pune and Mumbai all ranging between Rs 35,000 and Rs 37,000 in each city.

In Akola, both BJP and Sena activists have been held responsible for causing damage to a showroom and a petrol pump valued at Rs 68,000.