Minister forced cops to allow protest at Azad Maidan:Tawade

He claimed that permission was granted because of pressure from a particular minister in the state government. Tawade was addressing a press conference yesterday morning after his brief meeting with Governor K Sankaranarayanan in the city. The governor is in the city to attend a flag hoisting ceremony, which will be held tomorrow on the occasion of Independence Day. Tawde told mediapersons that a delegation of MLAs met the governor and demanded stringent action against the Raza Academy and book all its members, who went on a rampage, for attempt to murder.

Talking tough: Leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Parishad Vinod Tawade addresses the media at the BJP office in the city yesterday. PIC/Priyanaka Deshpande

‘Violent’ history
Tawade pointed out that the academy has a history of violence. He said that a few years ago, the academy had held protests in Bhiwandi in which two people died after they were assaulted by the protesters. Some three years ago, members of the academy were involved in destruction of public property at Azad Maindan where they had assembled to condemn a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper.

“When the police were aware of these incidents, then why did they granted permission to the Raza Academy to hold a protest?” Tawade said. He also questioned the number of police personnel deployed at Azad Maidan on the day of the protest.

“Academy members had already submitted a pamphlet at the Vinoba Bhave police station in Kurla, explaining the nature of the protest. And the language used in the pamphlet was aggressive,” Tawade said.

Pointing out at the loopholes in the security provided by the Mumbai police at Azad Maidan, Tawade said academy members had came with hockey sticks and iron rods from areas like Bhiwandi, Mankhurd and Govandi to participate in the protest. Keeping in mind the aggressiveness of the academy members, the police should had taken more precautions.

Split home ministry
Taking on Home Minister RR Patil, Tawde asked the Governor to divide the home ministry into two, where social issues would be looked after by Patil and issues related to law and order would be handled by a tough and efficient minister. He also claimed that both the Congress and the NCP lacked effective ministers who could look after the law and order situation in the state.

Reacting to the apology from Raza Academy president Mohammed Saeed Noori, Tawade said the apology wasn’t enough and demanded academy to compensate for the destruction of public property its members had caused. 

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