Raj Thackeray detained during MNS agitation against toll collection
Mumbai – Raj Thackeray has been detained by the Mumbai Police as thousands of activists of his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena or MNS are staging a raasta-roko across the state against toll collection. Since last month, Maharashtra has witnessed violence that has been perpetrated mostly by the MNS against the issue of toll tax.
Mr Thackeray was detained on his way to a protest at the Vashi Toll Plaza. Nearly 500 MNS workers have already been taken into preventive custody across the state. The MNS chief had earlier warned that “all the highways in Maharashtra where toll is collected will be shut from 09:00am, this is final.”
Massive security arrangements are in place across the state – 20 companies from the State Reserve Police Force and four from the Rapid Action Force have been deployed. There is heavy police presence at toll plazas.
“We are prepared to handle any situation with firm hands and action will be taken against the anti-social elements if they indulge in any kind of vandalism,” Hemant Nagrale, Mumbai’s Acting Police Commissioner had said.
Major routes that are likely to be affected owing to the blockade today are the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Eastern Express Highway and Western Express Highway, Bandra-Worli Sea Link, National Highway 4 which connects Mumbai to cities like Thane, Pune, Satara and Kolhapur, Mumbai-Nashik Expressway, Thane-Ghodbunder Road and Thane-Bhiwandi Road.
Mr Thackeray, who is facing multiple cases for instigating party cadres to vandalise toll booths, was served a notice yesterday by the city police, asking him to refrain from any activity that would create law and order problems.
Earlier, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had invited the MNS chief for talks and appealed to him to call off the protest. “He should not do anything that will trouble citizens. We are considering toll policy for the state,” Mr Chavan said.