M A I N   N E W S

Raj in jail, his men riot
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 21
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray who was arrested early today in connection with an attack by MNS activists on outstation candidates appearing for a railway examination on Sunday was remanded in two-week judicial custody by a court here.

Raj was produced before a magistrate at the Bandra court after his arrest from Ratnagiri where he was addressing political rallies. He was charged with inciting violence at Chetna College in Kherwadi, Bandra and Kalyan on the outskirts of Mumbai where candidates appearing for a railway examination were beaten up by MNS activists.

Raj who was released on bail in the Kherwadi case,was sent to judicial custody till November 4 in connection with the Kalyan case. The Maharashtra police has also imposed a two-month gag order under which Raj would not be allowed to address public rallies or hold press conferences. According to police officials, he has been charged under Sections 153, 353, 336, 425 and 427 of the IPC.

Raj was later taken to Manpada police station in Kalyan where he will be lodged overnight. According to sources, he will be produced before a Kalyan court tomorrow.

Earlier, amidst high drama, the police arrested him from the Circuit House in Ratnagiri, 275 km from here, where he was camping. The arrest came hours after the MNS leader addressed a rally challenging the Maharashtra government to take action against him. “We decided to arrest him in Ratnagiri as there was a possibility that he might not return to the city,” Mumbai police commissioner Hassan Gafoor told reporters.

According to reports from Ratnagiri, senior police officers formally placed him under arrest at around 2.30 am and brought him to Bandra-Kurla police station.

As MNS activists started gathering outside, the police resorted to a lathi-charge and later burst tear gas shells to control the situation, which,at one time, threatened to turn volatile as a group of Samajwadi Party activists gathered outside the police station started raising slogans against Thackeray.

The arrest sparked violence across the state. MNS activists stoned vehicles and attempted to set afire a truck carrying gas cylinders outside the court. Several BEST buses were also damaged, the police said. Buses, trucks and autorickshaws belonging to migrants from were burnt. Shops and business establishments were closed in most parts of the city.

Officials of the Western and Central Railways said train services were not disrupted though traffic was thin. Most schools in the city were closed for the Diwali vacation. The office of state Congress spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam who is emerging as a leader of the north Indians in Mumbai was also damaged.

Reports of violence were also received from other parts of Maharashtra. In Satara, a bus depot belonging to the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation was damaged after some MNS workers tried to set it afire. A toll station outside Mulund was also damaged. In Nagpur and Nashik, state transport buses were stoned.

In the Kothrud area of Pune, buses of private companies taking employees to work were attacked by the MNS activists. Buses of the Pune Municipal Corporation were also attacked.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh insisted that he was not pressured by anyone to take action against Thackeray.”This is not a sudden decision. We wanted to show that nobody is above the law,” Deshmukh said. Deputy chief minister and NCP leader R. R Patil said Raj had dared the government to arrest him.”We have shown that we have the courage to arrest him,” Patil said.

Raj’s wife is the new face of MNS

With the police imposing a gag order on Raj Thackeray, his wife, Sharmila, is emerging as the new face of the MNS. She faced television cameras as she waited at the Bandra court. She also sent out SMS messages to certain TV channels condemning the arrest of her husband.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |