Responding to the agitation planned by union leader Sharad Rao, who is demanding a tariff hike, the auto union affiliated to Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) said it would take an aggressive stand if its drivers are forcefully stopped from coming out.
Rao has declared an indefinite “agitation” starting November 9 if the state does not fulfill the demands put forth by his union, the Mumbai Auto Rickshawmen’s Union, the biggest union in the city with 25,000 members.
“Many drivers belonging to other unions and those who are not affiliated to any union were forcefully stopped from plying by Rao’s union members when they went on strike on October 3. The autos were damaged and there was violence,” said Haji Arfat Shaikh, president, Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena.
“If a similar situation repeats itself on November 9 and they try to stop drivers from our union, we will bash them up and ensure that our autos ply on the roads,” said Shaikh.
The auto union has also sent a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and police commissioner Arup Patnaik demanding action against Rao and his union and demanding protection.
“Rao’s union members force other drivers to go off the roads using violence, but no action is being taken against them. But action was taken against our members who were trying to teach a lesson to errant drivers,” said Shaikh.