Police baton charge rampaging MNS workers after Raj Thackeray arrest (Second Lead)

October 21st, 2008 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Raj ThackerayMumbai, Oct 21 (IANS) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists went on the rampage here Tuesday, blocking a highway and pelting stones on vehicles, as their chief Raj Thackeray was presented in a court in Mumbai’s Bandra suburb. Police had to resort to a baton charge to control the mob.Thackeray, whose MNS workers Sunday attacked non-Maharashtrians appearing for a railway board recruitment examination, was arrested from Ratnagiri, about 250 km from here, early Tuesday.

Transferred to Mumbai amidst tight security, Thackeray was immediately whisked off to the Bandra-Kurla Complex police station, where his wife Sharmila and other party office-bearers were present.

Outside the Bandra court, where Thackeray was to be produced, police were forced to baton charge supporters of the MNS chief who had gathered there in large numbers since they refused to disperse.

Many MNS activists squatted on the busy Western Express Highway, which is barely a stone’ throw away from the Bandra court, causing traffic jams. They also pelted stones at passing vehicles, causing panic stricken commuters to flee.

While in some areas, buses, taxis and autorickshaws were set on fire, in others areas public transport just stayed off the roads causing great inconvenience to people. However, suburban trains on the Western and Central Railways and Harbour Line functioned as usual.

The office of the state Congress spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam was also vandalised.

Many shops and commercial establishments, especially those run or managed by non-Maharashtrians, chose not to open at all to avoid trouble.

As news about Thackeray’s arrest spread, there was violence in other parts of Maharashtra too.

Thackeray was arrested from a government guest house in Ratnagiri district at about 4 a.m. along with other party workers like Sanjay Ghadi and Pravin Darekar in connection with the beating up of some north Indian candidates at a railway recruitment examination centre in Chetana College, Bandra East, police said.

This is the second time in eight months that Thackeray has been arrested for his tirade against north Indians.

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