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Congress-MNS clash over hawkers issue

The Mumbai Congress unit on Wednesday organised a Feriwala Sanman march in support of hawkers. They also registered their anger against the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party workers. However, before the rally could begin from Dadar Nakshatra mall, the Congress-MNS face-off led to major chaos as both parties shouted slogans against each other. This prompted MNS party workers to throw potatoes at Congress party workers.

The Congress party workers claimed they had permission to hold a rally at Dadar. The clashes led to stone-throwing and a Congress leader’s car too was damaged. Despite tight security and police deployment, the clashes occurred.

After the clashes, Dadar police arrested workers of both parties for vandalism. MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande said, “One now needs courage to hold a rally in Dadar. Today, the Marathi people have shown Congress their place which is why they ran away.” However, after the clashes, tension was prevalent in Dadar and surrounding area.

Rajeev Jain, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 5), said, “Workers of both parties have been arrested, 15 of Congress and 15 MNS workers by the Shivaji Park police. Both parties had not taken permission for rallies or assembling at the spot.” He said the workers have been arrested under contravention of rules or directions (Section 135) and power to prohibit certain for prevention of disorder (Section 37(1) (2) of the Bombay Police Act. “An FIR has been registered at Dadar against MNS for vandalising a banner at the Congress office,” he added.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressed a rally in south Mumbai in early October over the death of 23 persons in the Elphinstone Road stampede on September 29. After this, MNS workers took it upon themselves to remove hawkers from station premises. In the last few weeks, MNS workers have allegedly been  attacking hawkers at Malad, Thane, Ghatkopar and Vashi stations to evict them. This prompted Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam to hold a rally of hawkers after which hawkers in Malad attacked the MNS vibhag adhyaksha last week.

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