Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Sushant Malavade sustained severe injuries during a clash with a group of hawkers outside Mumbai’s Malad station on Saturday. The MNS has been conducting an anti-hawker drive across the city, while local Congress leaders have voiced their support for the vendors, the Hindustan Times reported.

A case has been registered against Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam (pictured above) at the Malad Police Station for addressing a hawkers’ rally without the required permissions, ANI reported. Several MNS leaders accused Nirupam of inciting the hawkers against the MNS.

“I spoke to hawkers in Malad according to a pre-planned schedule,” Nirupam told the Hindustan Times. “MNS workers attacked hawkers as police remained bystanders and failed to protect the common man. If the Bharatiya Janata Party government does not want to protect hawkers and tells policemen not to interfere, hawkers can defend themselves. I only told them to retaliate in case of an attack by the MNS.”

Malavade is undergoing treatment for his injuries at a local hospital. “When Malavade was walking towards the station, he was attacked by hawkers carrying iron rods, hockey sticks and sharp weapons. Malavade was hit on the back of his head and collapsed on the spot,” said MNS secretary Sachin More.

Several MNS workers allegedly assaulted some hawkers in Dadar to protest against the incident. “We overturned their handcarts and stalls, then left. That is when the cops arrived,” the Hindustan Times quoted MNS worker Santosh Sali as saying.

“Action will be taken,” said North Mumbai Additional Commissioner of Police Rajesh Pradhan, the Hindustan Times reported.