Shiv Sena, MNS activists come to blows while filing nominations in Mumbai
Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists came to blows outside the Old Custom House in South Mumbai on Thursday, after their respective party candidates reached there to file their nominations.
The development occurred almost immediately after the latest round of verbal skirmishes between Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and MNS chief Raj Thackeray. Only a few days ago, Uddhav had come down heavily on his estranged cousin and arch rival Raj Thackeray, calling him a ‘backstabber’.
Despite heavy police deployment, clashes erupted among the 1200 workers from both the parties, prompting cops to resort to a cane charge to bring the situation under control, after the incident created heavy traffic snarls in south Mumbai, the police said here today.
Soon after the clash, the two political rivals blamed each other, claiming it was ‘premeditated’ by their opponents, with the Shiv Sena even seeking de-recognition of the MNS.
According to the police, Arvind Sawant of the Shiv Sena filed his papers from Mumbai South and Aditya Shirodkar contesting on an MNS ticket, filed his nomination from Mumbai South Central this afternoon.
The clashes broke out after Shiv Sena activists, along with their candidate Sawant arrived to file nomination papers, while MNS candidate Shirodkar and his supporters were already present there filing their papers.
A preliminary probe suggested that they began hitting each other with flag sticks, which triggered an altercation among them. Suddenly, the situation went out of control after activists began hurling stones and glass bottles at each other while raising party slogans, even as several people were injured and two policemen as well as a cameraman of a Marathi news TV channel sustained serious injuries.
‘Twenty activists from both the parties were arrested on charges of rioting and unlawful assembly,’ Senior Inspector at MRA Marg police station Ashok Jagdale said.
‘Prima facie, it appears to be the outcome of political enmity. However, we are yet to ascertain the motive behind the incident,’ Additional Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash said.