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No Mumbai bandh on Monday: Uddhav
rediff News Bureau, Agencies | July 09, 2006 12:57 IST
Last Updated: July 09, 2006 22:20 IST
Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has told Saamna, the Sena newspaper, that there will be no Mumbai bandh on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, irate Shiv Sainiks blocked roads in central Mumbai, the Western Expressway, Navi Mumbai and Nashik after unidentified miscreants allegedly desecrated the statue of Meenatai Thackeray, the late wife of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.
Shiv Sainiks vented their anger over the incident by damaging a police outpost in the Shivaji Park area in central Mumbai, where the bust is located, alleging that the police failed to nab the culprits although the outpost is close to where the incident took place.
The matter was further precipitated when it was found that the unidentified persons also defiled two idols of Lord Ganesh and Lord Hanuman at a gymnasium near the desecrated bust of Meenatai at Shivaji Park.
Tension prevailed in the area after Shiv Sainiks burnt a tourist bus and obstructed vehicular traffic. Police reinforcements have been rushed to the spot and security has been tightened in the city.
Reports have also come in that Shiv Sainiks are going around enforcing a bandh in some parts of Mumbai city. Trouble has also been reported from Nashik and Chandrapur.
The Shiv Sainiks alleged that the miscreants threw mud on Meenatai's statue.
Senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Manohar Joshi told reporters after visiting the site that the authorities should arrest those responsible for the incident and take all measures to avoid any deterioration in the law and order situation in the city.
"Meenatai, whom the Shiv Sainiks called Maasaheb, is like a mother to us and we will not tolerate any attempt to insult her memory," Joshi said.
The protesting Shiv Sainiks blocked the road next to Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters, in the Shivaji Park area.
They shouted slogans against Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi, whom they accused of inciting a mob in Bhiwandi town in the neighbouring Thane district to lynch two policemen earlier this week.
Maharashtra Director General of Police Dr P S Pasricha told rediff.com that "all police stations have been alerted."
"Surveillance and intelligence has been geared up," he added. "All forces are on full alert and we will ensure that law and order is maintained."
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena led by Bal Thackeray's nephew Raj joined the Sena workers in the protests.
Stone pelting on suburban trains was reported from suburbs at Vikhroli and Kandivali, while rail traffic was blocked at Dadar railway station. Vehicles were damaged on the Western Express Highway and in neighbouring Thane city and Kalyan.
Public transport vehicles were torched in Nasik, Chandrapur, Satara and Kolhapur.
The Shiv Sena-BJP combine strongly condemned the desecration, with BJP leader Gopinath Munde issuing an ultimatum to the state government to nab the culprits within 24 hours, failing which the two parties would disrupt the Maharashtra legislature proceedings.
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh convened an emergency meeting of top officials to discuss steps to control the situation.
Mumbai Police Commissioner A N Roy said the situation was under control and any violence in the city would be dealt with firmly. He appealed to Shiv Sena leaders not to give a 'communal' tinge to the issue and said police patrolling had been stepped up in senstive areas.
Earlier, Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray said the violent reactions from Sainiks were spontaneous, adding the party has asked its workers to maintain peace.
"The government cannot be a mute spectator to such incidents and buckle under pressure from a handful of people. It should take strong action against such elements who intend to cause disaffection in society," he said.The ground handling facility at Chhatrapati Shivaji international and domestic airport was affected as the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, which dominates among workers there, gave a call to stay off work.