Tense Shivaji Park breathes easy now
Days of uncertainty ended in a climax at Shivaji Park on Wednesday with the arrest and subsequent return of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray.
The day started with rumours that the Vikhroli police would arrive to record Raj’s statement and indicated that he would eventually be arrested during the day. By afternoon, police personnel fanned across the area with several roads leading to his Krishna Kunj apartment being barricaded. Riot Control Police too were deployed in large numbers
At 4:15 pm, a calm and composed Raj, wearing a white shirt under a blue sweater, climbed into a waiting police van. He was driven to the Vikhroli Metropolitan Magistrate Court, followed by a convoy of cars.
Within fours hours, he returned home to bursting crackers and chants of ‘Mumbai bachao, bhaiyya bhagao (Save Mumbai, drive out the north Indians)’ and ‘Messiah of the Maharashtrians’. The police had to lathi charge several of his supporters and many were bundled into a police van.
For Shivaji Park residents though, the day was a relief. “We are happy that the environment of uncertainty is finally over,” said Shyam Kulkarni.