MNS & Congress Workers Clashes Over Hawkers

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Mumbai: The workers of Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the Mumbai wing of the Indian National Congress clashed at two different places on Wednesday over the hawkers’ issue, with one demanding hawkers’ eviction and the other supporting the hawkers.

The police arrested 30 workers from both the parties on Wednesday morning for forming an unlawful assembly at Shivaji Park.

“The Congress had applied for the permission to hold a morcha, but we did not grant it to them. The MNS did not even inform us that they would take out a morcha,” said Rajiv Jain, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone V. Jain added that the men have been booked under the Bombay Police Act after complaints were lodged by representatives of both the parties.

While the issue of hawker eviction dates back almost three decades, it is back at the centre of political bickering in the city. The political turmoil over hawkers and their rights has triggered clashes between the two parties.

Later in the day, a local Congress party worker at Dhan Mill Naka in Dadar claimed that banners put up outside his office had been torn off by MNS workers. “We have registered an offence against unidentified people and are carrying out an investigation,” said Jain.

Another clash broke out outside the residence of Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam at Versova. The police arrested 34 people after the MNS demonstrated outside Nirupam’s home.

“We have arrested 34 people, of whom 15 are MNS workers and booked them under the Bombay Police Act,” said Kiran Kale, senior inspector, Versova police station.