The fight over Mumbai’s autorickshaws has escalated rapidly, with workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) attacking each other on Sunday. The two parties had been sparring all week, ever since MNS supremo Raj Thackeray warned the BJP-led state government against giving rickshaw permits to non-Maharashtrians.
While MNS workers allegedly attacked BJP leader Mohit Kamboj on Sunday, BJP workers retaliated swiftly by vandalising an MNS party office in the Dindoshi suburb of North Mumbai.
The war of words started on Wednesday, when Thackeray, while celebrating the party’s 10th anniversary, had threatened to burn rickshaws driven by non-Maharashtrians. And it took just one day for his party workers to put this plan in motion, after they burnt an autorickshaw in Mumbai’s suburb of Andheri on Thursday. The vehicle was said to be parked in the Four Bungalows locality when the unknown miscreants targeted it.
There wasn’t anybody in the rickshaw at the time of the incident.
Following this, a letter, allegedly written by Kamboj, was widely circulated on social media. The Asian Age reported that Kamboj’s office at Malad’s Kurar area was vandalised on Saturday evening. On Sunday afternoon, a mob manhandled Kamboj, who is also the president of the India Bullion and Jewellers’ Association, following which he lodged a police complaint.
“On Saturday night, a few persons tried to create a ruckus in Kamboj’s office, after which a case was registered. We have arrested two people. On Sunday afternoon, he was attacked again. We have recovered video clips of the incident and are trying to identify the culprits,” said M Ramkumar, the DCP of the area.
But retaliation was swift, much before the police could act. In a matter of a few hours, BJP party workers attacked an MNS party office at Dindoshi. A BJP activist confirmed to PTI that they did carry out the retaliatory attack. “Today’s attack on the MNS office by BJP members was to retaliate Saturday’s incident,” he said.
Former MLA and MNS party member Nitin Sardesai confirmed that the incident had taken place. “An MNS office at Dindoshi was attacked. I am still to reach the site. Only after talking to party workers there can I tell you what exactly occurred,” he told PTI.
With inputs from PTI