The auto rickshaw that was burnt outside the Andheri RTO on Thursday, after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s fire spewing speech, is an old one.
On March 9, Thackeray in his speech, brought back the Marathi manoos issue, and stated that the new auto rickshaws bought by winners of the lottery meant for auto rickshaw permits, should be burnt down.
However, the auto that was burnt was six-years-old. The auto rickshaw was registered in the name of one Sukhram B Rajbhar on 30 August, 2010.
The auto rickshaw was set ablaze just outside the Andheri RTO premises
A day after Thackeray’s speech, at around 10.45 pm, the auto rickshaw was set ablaze, allegedly by five people, right outside the Andheri RTO premises. Allahudin Mohammad Badgure, the driver of the auto rickshaw, MH-02-VA-3528, told mid-day, “At around 10.45 pm I was sitting inside the RTO compound and had parked my vehicle on the road. All of a sudden I saw it on fire and came running. A police complaint has been made as well and so I don’t want to speak more on this.”
Normally rickshaws are parked outside the compound on both sides of the two-lane road along with other vehicles, even those that have been detained. These include long buses and overloaded trucks.
There are CCTVs installed on the building and bulbs fitted on the exterior walls. But sources said that neither the lamps on the building are switched on at night after the office hours, nor are there any street lights on the entire road.
“At night there are a lot of problems as there are no streetlights. There is hardly any space to park vehicles inside the premises,” said an RTO official. The road where the RTO is, connects the Link Road to another road that leads to Kokilaben Ambani hospital.
“The vehicle got burnt outside the RTO premises and it is the owner’s responsibility. We do not allow parking of vehicles except official vehicles,” said M Jadhav, RTO (Andheri). Earlier the RTO ground used to be a parking lot for auto rickshaws, now it has become a dump yard.
“The driver was afraid to speak but we have registered a case and are investigating the matter,” said a police officer from Amboli police station.
MNS protests at RTO
On March 11, MNS members headed by Shalini Thackeray took a morcha to the Andheri RTO, to protest against the Marathi manoos not being favoured during the distribution of auto rickshaw permits.
Shalini Thackeray of the MNS met Andheri RTO officials regarding the Marathi manoos not being favoured during the distribution of rickshaw permits. Pic/Nimesh Dave
“It is mandatory for people applying for permits to have domicile certificates stating he or she is a resident of Mumbai for 15 years. The applicants need to have knowledge of Marathi language. Ideally the Marathi manoos should have got these permits under the circumstances, but the parprantiyas bagged these permits,” said Thackeray in her letter presented to the RTO. The RTO premises at Andheri were under bandobast from 11 am due to the MNS morcha. The first delegation with the demands was met at 12.30 pm and an hour later Thackeray met the RTO officers.
During this time the main gate was blocked by the protesters, while the entrance was blocked by the police, preventing people from entering and exiting the RTO. There was also heavy traffic on the road opposite the RTO building.