MNS workers attack north Indians, disrupt railway examsOctober 19th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, Oct 19 (IANS) Continuing their campaign against immigrants from outside the state, activists of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Sunday attacked many north Indian candidates appearing for a railway recruitment examination at several places in Maharashtra.The MNS activists pounced on candidates who had come from different states for the Group D category examinations in Mumbai, Thane city, Dombivli, Nalla Sopara (both in Thane district), and Sholapur district, a Central Railway (CR) official said.
However, despite the disruptions, authorities managed to conduct the examinations at a majority of the centres amid tight police security, the official said.
The MNS is demanding more representation for Maharashtrian youth in railway staff vacancies. Earlier, in November 2003, supporters of Raj Thackeray, who was then with the Shiv Sena, had agitated against north Indians who had come to write railway examinations.
On Sunday morning, the MNS workers attacked some candidates who were sleeping at the Dombivli station. In the ensuing fisticuffs, at least three candidates were injured while the MNS activists managed to flee.
In Andheri suburb of northwest Mumbai, MNS workers barged into an examination centre at Vidya Bhavan School and tore up the questions papers.
In Dombvili and Thane, MNS activists pelted stones at the exam centres and tore up the exam papers.
A total of 15 MNS workers were arrested on charges of rioting in Thane, police said.
In Sholapur district, the home district of central Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, MNS workers attempted to force their way into an examination centre but were stopped by police.
Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president Kripa Shankar Singh reacted sharply to the MNS attacks on north Indians, terming them as “anti-Maharashtrian culture.”
Singh asked why should the MNS stop genuine candidates from appearing for the examinations when nobody has stopped Maharashtrian youth from applying.
In Latur, neighbouring district of Sholapur, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh criticised the MNS move and warned of strict action if they tried to break the law.
Deshmukh was informed of the MNS agitation shortly after Shinde flagged off a new direct train service linking Mumbai with Latur, the chief minister’s home town.