Cops wait; Raj men go on rampage in Maha

Updated on Feb 13, 2008 04:24 AM IST
As a tense nation waited for Raj's arrest, his supporters caused havoc, report Z Shaikh and Satyajit Joshi.
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Hindustan Times | ByZeeshan Shaikh and Satyajit Joshi, Mumbai/pune

As a tense nation waited for news of the arrest of Raj Thackeray, his supporters struck preemptively in Nashik, Pune and Mumbai, attacking properties and businesses, and threatening north Indian migrants.

In Nashik, several migrant families arrived at the railway station, ready to take trains out of the danger zone.

In Pune, stones were thrown at shops owned by migrants. And in Mumbai, vigilant groups forced traders to shut shops, and the civil courts saw a sudden rush of people seeking domicile certificates: proof that they have lived in Maharashtra for 15 years or more.

Raj Thackeray, the man in the middle of the crisis, spent most of the day at his home in Mumbai. A deputy commissioner of police came to meet him in the morning, and stayed for about half an hour. There was substantial speculation, but no definite word on when Raj would be arrested.

Mumbai Police have registered cases against Raj and Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi at separate police stations for giving provocative speeches intended to trigger rioting and enmity between groups.

Incidents of violence against north Indians in Mumbai began on February 3 after Raj's verbal attacks.

Police have also served a notice to Raj and Azmi, asking them not to make any public statements or meet their supporters. However, a Marathi daily on Tuesday carried a cartoon by Raj, depicting north Indians as a threat even as the government slept.

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