M A I N   N E W S

FIR against Raj Thackeray
Security up at Big B’s bungalows
Tribune News Service

Police personnel show the burned poster of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mumbai on Monday.
Police personnel show the burned poster of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mumbai on Monday. MNS activists burned Mulayam posters in the city. — PTI

Mumbai, February 4
Even as the police registered an FIR against Raj Thakeray, security has been tightened outside the two bungalows owned by actor Amitabh Bachchan in Mumbai and the police booked 23 persons, allegedly belonging to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) for rioting and later released them on bail.

There have been heated verbal exchanges between Amitabh’s wife Jaya Bachchan and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief over the past few days. The police said security had been tightened outside Jalsa and Prateeksha, the two bungalows owned by the Bachchans in Juhu, in suburban Mumbai.

Earlier today, there was panic and confusion after television channels reported that the police was on the lookout for two youths who had allegedly thrown glass bottles into the compound of Prateeksha. The Juhu police later denied the report.

The report was also picked up by some city tabloids leading to rumours that hoodlums, allegedly professing loyalty to Raj Thackeray, were hounding the Bachchans. It now transpires that television crews camping outside Bachchan’s bungalows noticed some disturbance and heard two youths shouting abuses.

Since then security has been tightened outside Bachchan’s bungalows. For the past several months, the police had restricted parking outside the two bungalows as a security measure. Scores of youths from upcountry usually arrive at Juhu to gawk at Bachchan’s bungalows that have become a tourist attraction. After Raj Thackeray’s remarks, questioning Bachchan’s loyalty to Mumbai, his wife Jaya had hit out at the MNS chief on Sunday. The day also saw MNS activists clash with members of the Samajwadi Party who were attending a political rally at Shivaji Park later yesterday. Activists of the MNS also attacked North Indian taxi drivers and ransacked a movie theatre screening a Bhojpuri film.

Today, the police said security had been tightened to prevent a repeat of yesterday’s incidents. However, tempers continued to be flared after Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh today filed an FIR against Raj Thackeray, accusing him of encouraging attacks on North Indians.

Amar Singh later said he was also approaching the Election Commission to get the MNS political status annulled so that the party would not be able to contest elections. “The Election Commission should take care of the MNS for blatantly violating EC guidelines,” Amar Singh said.

He also had a run-in with Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil after he accused him of not doing enough to protect the lives and properties of citizens of Mumbai. Bachchan has not responded to remarks made by Raj Thackeray as he is busy shooting in Shimla.

Later today, the police booked 23 persons allegedly belonging to the MNS and the Samajwadi Party for rioting and later released them on bail.

Meanwhile, the police is on the lookout for certain activists of the MNS after they tried to burn an effigy of Amitabh at Shivaji Park. Security was tightened in the area after a taxi was damaged by the mob. The Shivaji Park area is a stronghold of both the MNS and the Shiv Sena. Activists of both groups usually stage a show of strength against each other.

Meanwhile, All-India Congress secretary and Lok Sabha member from Mumbai North-West Priya Dutt appealed for calm in the city. Condemning the violence, she said it was a good thing that a girls’ school was being started in UP.




Team Amitabh in Jaipur

Jaipur, February 4
The attack on his house in Mumbai notwithstanding, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, along with his family members, arrived here today to celebrate the birthday of his son-actor Abhishek, who is here for the shoot of a film, tomorrow.

The big B, his daughter-in-law Aishwarya, wife Jaya and friend Amar Singh, reached here in the afternoon by different flights from Mumbai and Delhi and went straight to a five star hotel.

The Bachchan family is likely to visit Sambhar village in Nagaur district where Abhishek Bachchan is staying for the shoot of Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra-directed film “Dilli 6”.

The Bachchan family is likely to take part in the birthday bash of Abhishek, who will celebrate his B’day tomorrow, a hotel source said. — PTI



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