Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray on Monday reportedly told senior party leaders that he wants his workers to be more assertive. “I want workers who will beat up others,” Thackeray said, according to DNA.
Thackeray’s statement comes after hawkers and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers clashed in Mumbai’s Vikhroli over a language row on Sunday night. The hawkers beat up MNS activists after they allegedly vandalised the hawkers’ stalls and told them to change the signboards and hoardings to Marathi.
The Mumbai Police on Monday arrested six people after three Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers were seriously injured, and one of them suffered a skull fracture. “We have arrested Congress workers Abdul Ansari, the prime accused, and Rizwan Malik for attempt to murder and four MNS workers – JN Dandekar, Kisan Gavkar, Ashok Jadhav and Santosh Gawli – for rioting,” said Sanjay More, senior police inspector of the Vikhroli police station.
Thackeray reportedly told senior party leaders: “The Vikhroli incident is humiliating. I don’t want a repeat. If we can’t protect ourselves, how will we pick up [the] people’s cause?”
Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam warned Thackeray and his party to stop their “goondagardi” and said that they would frequently get beaten up otherwise.
Nirupam claimed that Congress followers intervened only after the MNS activists began vandalising shops. MNS spokesperson Sachin More, however, told News18 that the Congress workers began attacking their men with knives and swords. “Our activists had gone to the area to distribute pamphlets for putting up Marathi signboards on shops,” More said.