Police arrest Rana couple for inciting people
The stand-off between the Shiv Sena and the Rana couple came to an end on Saturday afternoon, with the arrest of the duo from their residence, after a case was filed at Khar police station
Mumbai The stand-off between the Shiv Sena and the Rana couple came to an end on Saturday afternoon, with the arrest of the duo from their residence, after a case was filed at Khar police station.
However, the independent MLA Ravi Rana and his wife and Amravati MP Navneet Kaur Rana, had called off their plan to chant Hanuman Chalisa in front of Matoshree, the family residence of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, in view of prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai on Sunday.
The PM will be in Mumbai to receive an award instituted in the memory of late singer Lata Mangeshkar.
The Ranas have booked under Indian Penal Code 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and section 135 (violation of prohibitory orders of police) of the Maharashtra Police Act.
“We have arrested them under various sections of IPC and Bombay Police Act,” said Mahadev Nimbalkar, senior police inspector of Khar police station.
He said the couple will be produced before a metropolitan magistrate court at Bandra on Sunday.
Saturday witnessed high-voltage drama in Khar, a western suburb of Mumbai, not far from Matoshree. To prevent the couple from reaching Matoshree at Kalanagar in Bandra East, hundreds of Shiv Sainiks laid siege to the area, and also surrounded Rana’s residence.
Meanwhile, Ravi Rana said that they are withdrawing the agitation as he is sure that people will show him (Uddhav) his place. “We are backing down to prevent further deterioration of the law and order situation, inconvenience to citizens and the possible cancellation of the prime minister’s visit. We took this decision after talking to the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis,” he said and added that there was no pressure to withdraw the agitation.
“Injustice is perpetrated on us at the behest of the chief minister and the government,” he added, while asking for action to be taken against Uddhav, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and transport minister Anil Parab. He charged that Raut had used indecent language against them. Navneet Kaur blamed Uddhav for ditching Hindutva. “The Prime Minister is coming to Mumbai … so we are withdrawing as we do not want any lacunae in these arrangements. We are not scared of Shiv Sainiks and their goons,” she claimed.
Rana further claimed that his residence at Amravati was stoned by Shiv Sena workers and accused the police of being mere bystanders.
However, Raut said that the BJP was using the Ranas as proxies to attack the state government. “They want to spoil the environment in Maharashtra and spread anarchy. They are using such people to attack us since they themselves don’t have the courage to do so,” he charged, without naming the BJP. “Henceforth, if anyone takes on the Shiv Sena, they must prepare for their final rites,” Raut said.
Yuva Sena leader Varun Sardesai, who led the protest at Khar, said, “Once again, it is evident that no one can come to Mumbai and Maharashtra and challenge Matoshree. They were scared to even set foot outside their home for two days. Now, they are using Modi as an excuse now.”
However, despite their retreat, the Sainiks refused to let them leave their house until they apologised for their acts. This was despite the presence of senior police officials and heavy deployment. Union minister and dissident Sainik Narayan Rane blamed the state government for the situation and warned that in case the Ranas were hurt, the responsibility would lie with the state government.
Around 5 PM, Sardesai appealed to Sainiks to not take the law into their own hands when the police were evacuating the couple. “For us, these two are inconsequential. But those who are playing politics from behind them want the Shiv Sena to take the law into their hands, so that they can seek the imposition of President’s rule,” added Sardesai.
However, the drama continued with the Ranas initially refusing to leave with the police for the Khar police station and asking them to produce a warrant. They asked the police why a case had been booked against them, when the sainiks who had surrounded their house and pelted stones at their Amravati residence. They were eventually evacuated at around 5:37 PM with Shiv Sena workers shouting slogans and bursting crackers.
Pravin Darekar, leader of opposition in the state legislative council, claimed that “an anarchy like situation” was prevailing in Maharashtra, and considering this, President’s rule must be imposed in the state. However, differences within the party came to the fore, with senior BJP leader Ashish Shelar saying that this was not the party’s demand.
Former chief minister and incumbent leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis denied contentions that the BJP wanted President’s rule to be imposed in Maharashtra and was creating a case for it. “To hide their failures, they are claiming President’s rule will be imposed. These are attempts to gain sympathy, but the people know the truth,” he said.
Fadnavis charged that the Shiv Sainiks were being abetted by the police in acts of violence like the attack on BJP leader Mohit Kamboj. “This arrogance of power is based on the support of the police,” he added.
“The law and order situation in Mumbai and Maharashtra is excellent, but some people want to show it has collapsed by orchestrating different events… this (President’s rule) is being sought by the BJP. These things are being done to create an enabling environment,” said home minister Dilip Walse Patil. He added that if the Ranas wanted to recite the Hanuman Chalisa, they could do so at the residences in Amravati, Mumbai or Delhi. “They (Ranas) are mere pawns…the image of the government is purposely being tarnished,” charged Walse Patil.
BJP leaders also met commissioner of police Sanjay Pandey, asking him to book the Shiv Sena workers, who attacked Mohit Kamboj on Friday, for attempt to murder. The delegation, which included Darekar, Mumbai BJP president Mangalprabhat Lodha and legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar, also sought action against Sainiks who had allegedly attacked the vehicles being used in the BJP’s city-wide ‘Polkhol’ campaign.
A day after the Shiv Sena took on the Ranas and by extension, the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Governor BS Koshyari, chief minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray will share a stage. On Sunday, Modi will be given the first Lata Mangeshkar award instituted by the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratishthan Charitable Trust. The event will be held in the evening in the Shanmukhananda hall at Sion.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said that he was injured as Shiv Sena workers attacked his vehicle when he had gone to Khar police station to meet the Ranas.
“Heavy stone throwing at Khar Police Station by Shivsena Gundas, my car window glass broken, i am injured,. rushing to bandra police station,” Somaiya tweeted and alleged that that sainiks tried to kill him. He reached Bandra police station to lodge a complaint.
Shiv Sena leader and former mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar alleged that Somaiya’s car was driven recklessly where Sena workers were standing. Mahadeshwar, who was outside Khar police station, asked why Somaiya was coming to meet Ranas. “This shows that BJP was behind the drama,” he alleged.