Tension prevailed in Yavatmal in eastern Vidarbha on Saturday when Shiv Sena activists went on the rampage and clashed with another group of activists after some unidentified men blackened the party’s posters around the city.
Sena supporters, led by the legislator Sanjay Rathod, allegedly attacked pro-Vidarbha leader Jambuwantrao Dhote during a protest against the incident. Dhote’s supporters retaliated and the two groups exchanged blows. Police rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.
As the news spread, Sena activists started pelting stones at state-run buses near Arni checkpost and damaged two shops. They forced schools and colleges to close, blocked traffic and an impromptu bandh was observed in the city. Sena’s Lok Sabha member, Bhawna Gawli, and legislator Diwakar Raote rushed to Yavatmal. The district police deployed anti-riot squads in sensitive areas.
Gawli and Raote met district collector Sanjay Deshmukh and demanded Dhote’s arrest. “We were attacked by pro-Vidarbha activists who want to create some stir as their statehood agitation is evoking no public support,” said Gawli.
Dhote claimed the Sena attack was planned to disrupt peace in the city and provoke pro-Vidarbha supporters.
The collector told Hindustan Times that the situation was under control. “We have detained 14 persons,” he said.