The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has come in for sharp criticism from parties, including the Congress and the NCP, for chasing away illegal hawkers and vandalising their carts outside Thane railway station on Saturday.
However, Union Minister of state for Social Justice and Republican Party of India ( RPI-A) leader Ramdas Athawale went a step further by not only slamming the MNS for the violence, but also warning them of retaliation by his Bhim Sainiks (RPI party cadre) “if the injustice against the poor hawkers continued.”
The Dalit leader said to protect hawkers the RPI activists will come out on roads. A large number of common people make their purchases from hawkers, he said, adding the government should come out with a policy for them. He though advised the hawkers to maintain road discipline so as to ensure that pedestrians and motorists were not inconvenienced by their presence.
“The issue of illegal hawking can be tackled by police and the local administration, but if the MNS activists are so eager to fight, they should instead go to the Pakistan border and counter our real enemies rather than attacking the poor hawkers,” said Athawale during a press conference at Mira Road on Saturday night. Athawale also launched RPI’s ambulance service in the twin city during his visit. Meanwhile, Manekpur police on Sunday rounded up four men allegedly owing allegiance to MNS for assaulting hawkers at Vasai station.