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MNS vandalises Congress office in south Mumbai, as hawker feud escalates

MNS calls it a surgical strike, Congress dismisses it as a cowardly attack; Sanjay Nirupam promises befitting reply if government does not take action

mumbai Updated: Dec 01, 2017 15:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Around 10.15am, eight to 10 MNS workers barged in and smashed glass cabins as well as the glass in the reception area of the Congress office near CSMT with stones and sticks.(HT Photo)

Workers from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) vandalised the Congress office near Azad Maidan on Friday morning. While the Raj Thackeray-led party called it a “surgical strike”, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said it was a cowardly attack and would get a befitting reply if the state government did not take action.

Around 10.15am, soon after security personnel opened the office, eight to 10 MNS workers barged in and smashed glass cabins as well as the glass in the reception area with stones and sticks. They also broke the windows of a car that was parked outside the office, which belongs to a party worker.

The police have recovered footage from CCTVs installed on the premises. No one was hurt in the incident, the police said.

MNS general secretary Sandeep Deshpande confirmed that MNS workers are responsible for the attack, and said the party is proud of them. “It was a surgical strike by our workers in response to the instigation by the Congress leadership to hawkers. It is a befitting reply to what happened in Vikhroli a few days ago,” Deshpande said.

READ: Congress, MNS clash in Dadar over issue of hawker evictions near railway stations

In a series of tweets, Nirupam called it a cowardly attack. “I can understand the frustration of #MNS whose workers r being beaten up by hawkers regularly…CM # Dev_Fadnavis must act fast or a befitting reply will be given for sure,” his tweet said.

State Congress president Ashok Chavan condemned the attack and demanded that loss be recovered from the hooligans.

The Mumbai Congress and the MNS have been at loggerheads for the past few weeks over the issue of illegal hawkers. While MNS workers have been attacking hawkers, the Congress has been supporting their right to livelihood. The MNS has also been pointing fingers at Nirupam for the attack on some of its workers in two separate incidents in Mumbai in the last three weeks - it claims his support to hawkers led to the attack.

The MNS has been forcibly evicting hawkers from railway premises following the Elphinstone Road stampede, which claimed 23 lives, on September 29, though railway and government authorities have conducted several drives to clear them. Hawkers are being cleared to prevent them from blocking access points and hampering commuter movement at stations and on foot over-bridges.

First Published: Dec 01, 2017 14:03 IST