Tuesday October 21, 2008
"If I am arrested, the entire Maharashtra will be set on fire,"
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief, Raj Thackeray had threatened while addressing a meeting in Chiplun
on October 20. And finally, at long-last, facing intense pressure to rein him ink,
the Maharashtra government decided to act and in a pre-dawn move, the MNS chief was picked up by police
at around 3.30 AM in Ratnagiri. Accused of a litany of charges including inciting violence,
as we write, he prepares to spend at least one night in a lock-up despite getting bail in one case
out of the four cases registered against him. Predictably, shortly after the arrest, MNS
goons went on a rampage in parts of Mumbai, Nashik, Solapur and Kolhapur attacking shops and pelting stones at scores of buses and taxis. A toll booth in Mulund was targetted and one of the counters was set on
fire. Police made about 2,000 preventive arrests and resorted to lathi charge at several places.
Incidents of stonepelting and attack on shops were also reported in Kalyan-Thane area where violence by MNS activists erupted late in the evening.
Several shops downed their shutters in this metropolis as a precautionary measure while schools remained closed.
The Congress is for now acting pious with the deputy Chief Minister R R Patil
denying any political pressure on the government for his arrest -- "he created a law and order problem and hence action was
taken" -- and Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh maintaining that nobody is above the law.
Wonder what took them so long to figure it out. A warrant from Jamshedpur?