Mumbai shame: Sena, MNS greet each other with stones, bottles
The fight for a seat in the Lok Sabha turned literal, with supporters of the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) attacking each other with stones and glass bottles yesterday. Several people were injured at Old Customs House, Fort, where candidates from both parties had, along with their supporters, gone to file their candidature papers.
Supporters of both parties waved flags and shouted slogans at each other outside Old Customs House, Fort. Pic/Shadab Khan
The two candidates were Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant, for the Mumbai South constituency and Aditya Shirodkar from the MNS, for Mumbai South Central. Both had arrived around noon, with contingents of supporters, to complete
the final procedure of their candidatures.
While Shiv Sena has accused the MNS of coming with the motive of picking a fight, the latter says it began in the heat of the moment. Pic/Shadab Khan
As soon as the rival groups spotted each other, supporters, who had come with flags, started shouting slogans and waving the flags vigorously.
An Injured video journalist after being hit by a broken bottle. Pic/Bipin Kokate
If Sena’s Sawant is to be believed, the first stone came from the MNS’ end, and his party men simply retaliated. “I feel it was a premeditated idea. From where did they get stones? On that stretch of road, there are many reputed institutions like the Central library. You don’t see stones lying around. I demand an inquiry into it. I have told the police the same thing, and want the people behind the attack punished,” said Sawant.
SMACK! A miscreant is caught unawares as a constable hits the target. Pic/Shadab Khan
Many in the Sena say they were caught off-guard with the large number of MNS supporters.
‘Not our fault’
While MNS’ Shirodkar didn’t answer phone calls, a senior party leader replied, “Nothing was planned. It all happened in the heat of the moment. When both parties came face to face, the whole mood changed. People sloganeered and it turned into a scuffle.”
Caught in the middle: Police intervene and try to stop the fight between MNS and Shiv Sena workers. Pic/Shadab Khan
Sena’s MP in the Rajya Sabha, Anil Desai, alleged that the whole act was orchestrated by the opposition parties (read: Congress), to portray both the parties in a bad light.
To this, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant stated, “They are the directors and actors of the whole drama. We are being blamed because they have no more issues left to fight over.”
About 20 men from both parties have been booked for rioting, among other sections. 25 others are wanted, too. Pic Bipin Kokate
Ashok Jagdale, senior police inspector of MRA Marg police station, said, “We have arrested 20 people from both Shiv Sena and the MNS. A case of rioting and unlawful assembly has been registered.
“Around 25 more are wanted in the case; we will arrest them after identifying them from CCTV footage and further inquiries,” he added.