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State to claim damages from Oppn

mumbai Updated: Jul 06, 2010 01:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The bandh over, the state government will now turn its attention to political party workers, who vandalised public property on Monday.

How state handled it

The Home department had issued notices to 18,083 troublemakers across party lines warning them of arrest.
The department made 5,500 preventive arrests, most of them late on Sunday evening.
The department distributed hand-held video cameras to policemen and installed video cameras at important junctions to identify troublemakers.

For the first time after a bandh, the state will invoke The Bombay Police Act, 1951, that allows it to recover compensation from those who damage state property. The Act was amended in 2008 to empower the collector to take quick decisions on the penalty.

The countrywide shut down called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and supported by all Opposition parties passed without any major incidents of violence except for the usual casualties. At least 175 buses belonging to the Brihanmumbai Electric and Suburban Transport (BEST) undertaking in the city and 61 state transport buses in the state were damaged.

The Home department will rely on footage shot by private television channels, besides their own video surveillance to identify miscreants and register offences against them. The collector will then initiate proceedings under the Bombay Police Act to recover compensation from them.

"The collector will decide on the compensation. In cases, where culprits are identifiable, damages will be recovered from them individually, otherwise political parties will have to pay up," Home Minister RR Patil said at a press conference at the state secretariat on Monday.

Through the day, the police registered 51 offences and arrested and detained 1,468 protestors in Mumbai and 4,268 across the state. Ten of these were legislators from Mumbai while 22 were from other parts of Maharashtra.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan insisted that the countrywide shutdown had failed to elicit the response the Opposition expected.

"Local and long distance trains were running as per schedule. Around 45 per cent of BEST buses and 61 per cent of ST buses were also in service. By and large, there were no big disruptions or violence and people were not hurt in any incidents associated with the shutdown," Chavan said.

He admitted that fear and apprehension kept people indoors but added that in rural areas too the bandh did not get much of a response.