Friday, July 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Thackeray’s arrest imminent
Maharashtra seeks more Central forces
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, July 20 — The arrest of Shiv Sena chief, Mr Bal Thackeray, appears imminent with the Maharashtra Government seeking 27 companies of para-military forces from the Centre.

‘‘We have asked the Centre to provide us immediately para-military forces to deal with any eventuality following the nod given to prosecute Mr Thackeray,’’ the two Maharashtra Ministers, who met the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, told newsmen here.

The state Home Ministers, Mr Kripa Shankar Singh and Mr Manik Rao Thakre, said they apprised Mr Advani of the tense situation prevailing in the state and tried to impress upon him to provide them with the additional Central forces immediately.

‘‘He (Mr Advani) assured us that the Centre will not lag behind in fulfilling its responsibility,’’ Mr Shankar Singh said, adding, however, that the Union Minister did not give any time-frame for the sanction of the additional forces.

The two ministers had specially flown in to Delhi, as the Union Home Ministry did not respond to their two letters dated July 16 and July 19, seeking additional Central forces.

Asked when Mr Thackeray will be arrested, he said, ‘‘we are awaiting for the Central para-military forces.’’

Replying to another question, Mr Thakre blamed the Shiv Sena workers for creating a tense situation in the state by indulging in ‘‘rumour-mongering’’ and ‘‘violence’’.

Soon after their meeting with Mr Advani, the two Maharashtra ministers headed straight to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s residence to brief her about the situation in the state.

Meanwhile, describing the state government’s decision to prosecute Mr Thackeray as “provocative”, the Shiv Sena and BJP MPs from Maharashtra today warned that people all over the country would take to the streets if any action was taken against the Shiv Sena supremo.

Talking to newspersons at the residence of Minister of Heavy Industries, Mr Manohar Joshi, the Union Minister for Petroleum, Mr Ram Naik and the Shiv Sena leader in the Lok Sabha, Mr Anant Geeta, said: “Instead of taking action against Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi, who had spoken about the break-up of the country, the state government is playing with the sentiments of people.”

MUMBAI (PTI): Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Thursday said the police, ‘‘after completing all legalities’’, would decide on the arrest of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray for his alleged role in the 1992-93 riots in the metropolis.

‘‘We have given a go ahead to the police to prosecute the Sena chief and now the police will decide on the arrest’’, Mr Bhujbal told reporters at Vidhan Bhavan here.

The Deputy Chief Minister was replying to queries on rumours of Mr Thackeray’s arrest and prevailing tension in the metropolis.

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