#Pune – MNS workers thrash north Indian parent #WTFnews

PUNE, March 5, 2013, tHE hINDU
A group of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party workers thrashed the father of a north Indian student in Satara on Monday afternoon, alleging that he had forged the age certificate which would get his son admission into the 5th standard of the Sainik School in Satara.

“The outsiders (north Indians) come here with 15-year-old boys and take admission into this prestigious school in 5th standard which is meant for 10-11 year olds. Can we not make out the difference between a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old boy? Some parents complained to us and decided to take appropriate action against them,” Satara MNS chief Ranjit Bhosale told The Hindu.

According to eye witnesses, the victim Mukesh Kumar who hailed from Uttar Pradesh, was accompanying his son for the mandatory medical check up before the admission at the government hospital in Satara, when MNS workers came and conducted an identification parade.

“He (Mr. Kumar) spoke rudely with us, hence we had to tackle him physically,” Mr. Bhosale said.

“Those people pay doctors to give them fake certificates, and then top in sports, academics and our boys are left behind. We do not oppose the 30 per cent reservation for students from other States, but cheating the school has to stop,” he stated.

Asked whether he had complained against the hospital and the school for issuing and accepting fake age certificates, Mr. Bhosale said, “The ones who issue the certificates accept bribe, and some of the school authorities, too, are outsiders.”

However, no police complaint was registered against the MNS workers. There was a police bandobast at the school after the incident.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray said in Mumbai that he was not aware of the incident, adding, “wherever outsiders get opportunities meant for Maharashtrians, we will oppose.”


If only we had more Rekhas… #Vaw


19-year-old maid puts her life on the line to save minor from rapist dad

by-Sunchika B Pandey, DNA , Mumbai, Dec 10, 2012 

Enlarge Image

A fortnight after a 3-year-old girl was allegedly raped by her father near Kalyan, it has come to light that it was the courage and concern shown by a 19-year-old domestic help, who was completely unknown to the girl, that saved the child.
On November 24 around 11pm, Rekha Timple first noticed the man sexually assaulting the child in a thicket of bushes near Kalyan station. Rekha, a Vashi resident, had just met her boyfriend in Kalyan and was on her way to the station to get home. However, she said she could not move ahead as she was too disturbed at what she had just seen.
DNA had reported about the sexual assault of the 3-year-old who is currently undergoing treatment at Sion hospital.
“I lunged forward to save the girl from her father’s advances. But I moved away he stared angrily at me,” recalled Timple. “The only thought on my mind was to save the child. But I knew that if I acted impulsively, he would attack or kill me. Not that I was scared of death, I just wanted to live to save that little girl from that torture.”
Timple slipped out of the place but said she couldn’t stop crying. “I lurked around the spot to look for the girl and her father,” said Timple, who let go of her train and stayed the night at Kalyan station.Around 2.30am and again at 4am, she went back to look for the girl.
“At first, I could not find her anywhere. Then, around 6am, I called my friend to join me. We found her near the Shiv temple close to the parcel office near Kalyan station. She seemed to be in pain; she was bleeding profusely,” said Timple.Timple and her boyfriend took the girl to a nearby washroom where they cleaned and dressed her and took her to the police. Just then the girl’s father spotted her with his daughter. “He tried to attack me, but there were people around. I raised an alarm and passersby caught hold of him and took him to the police,” said Timple.
The girl has now received several gifts


Mumbai, Cops detain boy for FB post against Raj Thackeray #censorship

Boy questioned for alleged Facebook post against

Raj Thackeray let off

POLITICS NEWS, Updated Nov 29, 2012 at 08:50am IST

Mumbai: The 19-year-old boy who was questioned for allegedly posting offensive comments against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Facebook has now been let off. The boy was handed over to the police by MNS workers on Wednesday to explain the comment posted about Raj Thackeray.

The party’s student wing president also filed a complaint. Police sources say that the boy’s Facebook account was hacked before the alleged offensive comment was posted.

Earlier, a bandh was on Wednesday observed in Palghar town in adjoining Thane district following a call by Shiv Sena against suspension of two senior police officers in connection with the arrest of two girls over a Facebook post, criticising shutdown during Bal Thackeray’s funeral.

Commercial establishments, schools and colleges at Palghar remained shut and there was no vehicular traffic in the town, party sources said. No untoward incident was reported so far, police said. The Palghar Bar Association had also called for a bandh in the courts today to protest the transfer of the local Judicial Magistrate First Class (JFMC) who had “promptly” granted bail to the two girls.

The girls, both 21, were arrested after one of them had lamented in a Facebook post the November 18 shutdown due to Thackeray’s funeral and her friend had ‘liked’ the post. Though the girl didn’t name Thackeray, the local Sena leader complained against the girls and police arrested the duo on November 19, sparking an outrage.

On November 20, police arrested the vandals who had damaged one of the girls’ uncle’s hospital on November 18, despite her removing the post and apologising that day itself. Maharashtra government had on Tuesday suspended the two police officers, SP (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle.

A 19-year-old boy has been detained by the police in Palghar for allegedly posting a scurrilous post on Facebook against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray.

Yahoo! India News – 14 hours ago

MUMBAI: It seems that the police have learnt no lessons from the arrest of two young women over a Facebook post that has sparked off rage against the government over the misuse of Section 66A.

In spite of all the criticism that the police faced over the arrests, a 19-year-old boy has been detained by the police in Palghar for allegedly posting a scurrilous post on Facebook against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, NDTV reports say.

NDTV reports says that a mob of MNS supporters had forced the boy to come to the police station and was detained there but was not charged yet.

However, a police official from Palghar, declining to be identified, said the “youth had neither been detained nor arrested, but was merely being questioned” and no offence has yet been registered in the matter.

Identified as an 18-year-old meat shop assistant, Sunil Vishwakarmawas picked up Wednesday for quizzing by police after some Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists complained of objectionable matter allegedly posted under his name on networking site Facebook.

According to initial investigations, it was found that Vishwakarma was unable to operate Facebook and police suspected someone might have created his fake profile, pointing to hacking.

The official said the matter was beyond the purview of the Palghar police and would be transferred to the Thane police’s cyber cell for probe and action.

Vishwakarma “has been kept in the police station to protect him from possible attacks” as police probed the issue, the official said.

Today, Palghar town and surrounding areas remained shut Wednesday in response to a call by the Shiv Sena to oppose the suspension of the two police officials who had arrested two girls for their Facebook comments on Bal Thackeray’s death.

The shutdown call evoked a near-total response in the industrial town, around 100 km north-west of the state capital Mumbai in Thane district.

Two girls from Palghar, Shaheen Dadha and her friend Renu Srinivasan, had questioned on Facebook the shutdown after the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray Nov 17 and also the following day when he was cremated in Mumbai. They were arrested by two police officials, who were placed under suspension Tuesday.


Who is in Whose Land?- Thackeray Family’s Bihar Connection

Ram Puniyani
India is facing lot of communal-ethnic strife where the place of origin and religion of people is the marker due to which they are attacked. Many a retrograde political ideologies are based on the ‘first comer’ assertions. The deeper problems related to social resources, economic deprivations and socio-political inequalities are being presented as problems related region or religion of people. In Mumbai, one can see this in its extreme form, in the politics of Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Both these outfits have a regional-religious chauvinist agenda. They switch from region to religion at the drop of the hat. They also keep combining the two in the aggressive street politics.
The rising star of this sectarian politics, Raj Thackeray, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, threatening ‘others’ with his usual ‘methods’ of ‘direct action’. Why the state lets the ‘direct action’ of these sectarian outfits go unpunished, is another side of the coin of the story. Recently (Sept 2012) when the Bihar official wrote to Maharashtra police authority that Maharashtra police should have informed the Bihar police before arresting the two criminals who had broken Amar Jawan Jyoti in August 11, 2012 violence, Raj Thackeray retaliated by saying that MNS will declare all the Biharis as infiltrators. As such what Bihar police was asking was a mere routine followed by police of one state while acting in the other state. Thackeray, in order to bake his political bread made it an issue.
While he was talking in this language, an interesting point came up. Congress General Secretary Mr. Digvijaya Singh dug out some history from the writings of grandfather of Raj Thackeray and father of Bal Thackeray, Mr. Prabodhankar Thackeray (?Thakre). Incidentally the spelling Thakre was changed to Thackeray not too far back in History. Singh quoted Thakre senior’s collected works, Prabodhankar Thackeray Samagra Vangmay: Khand (Volume) 5, published by the Maharashtra Rajya Sahitya Ani Sanskritik Mandal when BJP-Shiv Sena was ruling the state. This quote is about the geographical background of the community from which Thackeray’s come, Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu (CKP). Singh quoted page no. 45 of the volume 5, which says that Magadha’s corrupt Kshatriya king Mahapadmanand was persecuting his subjects by levying various taxes on them. Many a families from CKP community left Magadha to escape the persecution and greed of Kshtriya ruler and left for Nepal, Kashmir and Bhopal.
The same book mentions that out of those who left Magadh (now Bihar), around 80 families settled in Taal Bhopal and Prabodhankar’s family was one amongst them. As per Singh, Prabodhankar mentions that the Muslim ruler of Bhopal was very kind and was great help to the Thackeray family. This Thackeray family later migrated to Mumbai.  Uddhav Thackeray, cousin of Raj and son of Bal Thackeray, said his grandfather is generally talking about the CKP and not his family in particular. Still Uddhav did not give the alternate version of their families past. Interestingly Parabodhankar’s account breaks another myth. Today his descendents and the practitioners of sectarian politics propagate that the medieval period was a dark period of India as there were many Muslim kings and Nawabs, who were doing atrocities on Hindus. Their version also glorifies Hindu Kings in general. Here in Prabodhankar’s account, a Khstriya (Hindu, warrior caste) king is tyrannical forcing the subjects to leave his kingdom while the Muslim Nawab is helpful for Thackeray family. Stereotyping the kings as per their religion, communal historiography has played a very negative role in the history of our society. In Pakistan and India both, even today such perceptions are part of popular understanding. There is a need to learn from what Thackeray senior writes in his book.
How do we judge citizenship today? Do we have a right to go from one state to another or not? Theoretically it will be accepted by all that it is legally correct. Still in various places and more particularly in Mumbai, Shiv Sena and its clone MNS have been creating havoc on this issue. Their sectarianism is not restricted only to region, but also to religion. In both matters their basic understanding is also totally fabricated and far from truth. As migrants have been taking place in to Metros, big cities, depending on survival opportunities. In pre independence times major migration took place amongst other places to Kolkata in particular. In Mumbai in the decade of 1960s to 1980s, when industrial production was booming here major migrations took place. And the major migrations to Mumbai did not take place from outside Maharashtra. They were from mainly Konkan region of Maharashtra. Even today the migration is taking place, the major migration is to Delhi and Punjab, Mumbai is third on the list. The latest Tata Institute of Social Sciences report tells us that 70% of immigrants to Mumbai are from within Maharashtra itself. In these migrations employment is the reason only for 15% of those coming here to Mumbai. The major reasons for coming to Mumbai are related to such migration being a post marriage relocation and education.
Currently Thackeray family, the original inhabitants from Bihar in the past, are pursuing their spewing of venom against Biharis in particular. Their targets have been changing. The Shiv Sena was propped up by the Mumbai industrialists to break the strength of workers unions. Shiv Sena was then subtly helped by the ruling Congress. Shiv Sena initially attacked the South Indians, with the slogan ‘Uthao Lungi Bajao Pungi’ (Beat up the lungiwallahs, South Indians). Then their targets shifted to Gujarati’s for time being. In between Shiv Sena also postitoned itself on the bandwagon of Hindutva politics of RSS, and took the lead in 92-93 Mumbai violence with slogans like ‘Muslaman ka Do hi Stan: Pakistan ya Kabristan’ (Muslims can have only two abodes: Pakistan or graveyard). They demonized the Muslims, all this has come out in the Srikrishna report, which is yet to be implemented in letter and spirit.
Lately, North Indians are the major targets of the politics of regionalism. This Shiv Sena-MNS politics is totally against the norms of our Constitution. The aggressive politicians also need to present the reality in an honest manner. If 70% of immigrant to Mumbai are from Maharashtra are Marathi Manoos,(Marathi speaking people) what do you do with them? There are problems. But the problems are not with Biharis or Nepalis coming here to explore survival options. The whole concept of development and the state polices need to be organized in a way where some areas don’t get burdened by the pressure of population. The victims of politics based on region and religion are the poorer lot, while in later case the poor rich divide has been abolished during last two decades.
At another level, religion, nation state, and regions are concepts which should help the humanity grow. Spencer Wells has shown that genetic lineage of the human race goes to Africa! Nation state is the concepts, which came to overcome the tyranny of the kingdoms. Nation states have a contribution for human society, only in so far as they bring in democratization of society and do away with feudal values. Regions in a nation state are meant to provide mechanisms for regional growth and barring that they should be fluid and inclusive in all sense of the word. The ilk of Thackeray needs to learn the moral of story from their lineage. It will do us good if they can also learn a bit from Tagore’s universalism and Spencer Wells theories about migrations of human race.

The one and only Fimfare Award winner for #Sholay, dies in penury #RIP





MUMBAI: Film editor M S Shinde (83), who edited over 100 hit films, including Sholay, died in penury here on Friday, at the PMGP Colony in a tiny 160 square feet room where he stayed with his youngest daughter Achala.. “It was old age and lack of enough finances to take care of my father in his old age.” said Achla

Shinde’s daughter Achla, who has been taking care of her father for nearly a decade, said, “It is sad the film industry forgets people once they retire. Even after the media wrote about my father’s financial and health condition nobody from the film industry came forward to help.”

Until six months ago, they were living in Parel, in central Mumbai. But the building collapsed and they were forced to shift to the slums after the building’s owner reportedly refused to help them.

“We had to shift here because the building had collapsed and there was no help as such,” Prerna , his elder daughter said.

He was keeping unwell for quite some time and was unable to pay his medical bills. The cine wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had offered to help him financially.

Back in his younger days, Mr Shinde used to work on a monthly payroll of Rs 2,000 with Ramesh Sippy. He has edited most of Ramesh Sippy’s movies like Seeta Aur GeetaSholay and Shaanamong others.

The veteran also worked with producers like I S Johar and Sanjay Khan, F C Mehra and others. Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Zamanna Deewana was his last film in 1995. He had bagged the Filmfare award for best editing for Sholay in 1975.

 Sholay was nominated for nine film fare awards but it was only M S Shinde  film’s editor, and the only person to win a Filmfare award for  Sholay. He has edited over 100 movies over the years, including ‘films like SagarSeeta Aur GeetaBrahmachari and Ram Jaane. Shinde had fallen on hard times and had been living in PMGP Colony in Dharavi for the last two years. He was forced to shift there after the building he lived in Parel collapsed and the owner refused to help. Achla said, “There are so many producers who have not paid my father but he had too much self-respect to go and ask for his dues.”

Shinde did not like to talk about his condition. It was the late Dadasaheb Phalke‘s great grand daughter-in-law Mrudula who found about his condition and approached the cine wing of the MNS which has now offered to help.Veteran actor AK Hangal, who passed away last month, too had needed financial help. Bollywood came to Hangal’s rescue but Shinde and his family were left to fend for themselves.

Shinde lost his wife Prafula to cancer in 2006 and is survived by three daughters — Prerna, Achala and Renuka.

His last rites were performed in the evening at around 7.30 pm at Shivaji Park.


Letter to Raj Thackrey #mustlisten





Here is song penned and rapped by @alist,  Ashwini Mishra, must listen


Just hours after his sensational statement over “infiltrators” and “Biharis“, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chiefRaj Thackeray faced stern criticism from many. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh‘sstatement on him might be the toughest one and hard to digest for Thackeray.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Saturday, Sep 1 claimed that Thackeray family itself belonged to Bihar and had settled in Dhar in Western Madhya Pradesh from where they migrated to Mumbai. Hence, is it true that Thackeray himself is an “infiltrator” in Mumbai, Maharashtra?

Criticising Mr Thackeray and discussing about hisfamily backgrounds, Digvijay Singh said, “If you look at the history of Mumbai, then it is a city offishermen. Rest all have settled there from outside.”

Digvijay Singh‘s shocking statement came when the MNS supremo showed his rage against the Biharis, the people who have migrated from Bihar to Mumbai.

Thackeray, whose party has often launched violent campaigns against Hindi-speaking people in Maharashtra, was reacting to a media report that Bihar chief secretary Navin Kumar has written to Mumbai police commissioner voicing displeasure over the arrest of the youth for vandalising the martyr’s memorial during Azad Maidan protest on Aug 11.

Thackeray said that the Bihar chief secretary had threatened legal action against Mumbai police.

“The letter says Mumbai police has to get in touch with the Bihar government before picking up any person from their state. If Mumbai crime branch picks up people from their state without the knowledge of the Bihar police they would face legal action,” he said referring to the purported latter.

“If the Bihar government tries to become a hurdle in the way of a police investigation, then my party would dub every Bihari in Maharashtra as an infiltrator and would force them to leave the state,” an angry Thackeray said.


Raj ki aag or Aag ka raj? #Rajthakre

  • September 2, 2012 , Deccan  Chronicle
  •  By Javed Anand

Bombay was renamed Mumbai in 1995. It was among the first things the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition sarkar did on coming to power in Maharashtra.

You might think the news has yet to reach ’em posh people who still refer to their quarter of the metropolis as ‘South Bombay’. In fact, it’s SoBo now!

Bombay, remember, is the New York of the East: SoHo, SoBo. Folks at SoHo might be deeply embarrassed at this likening. But for SoBo, appearance is what matters, darling.

Why not SoMu? Don’t even go there! South here is not about geography, stupid. Dude, it’s all about attitude. The Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena can have their Mumbai so long as they let SoBo residents keep up their pretences.

Could SoBo symbolise a cosmopolitan resistance to the chauvinism of the Senas? Banish the thought, the SoBoietis love their Thackerays. (Perhaps Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, too.) Call it the mutual attraction of the bold and the beautiful.

At five-star get-togethers during the 1990s, SoBo’s beautiful people never squirmed when Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray routinely referred to Indian Muslims as “green snakes”. What to do: Muslims need to be taught a lesson.

Mr Thackeray, incidentally, was the main accused in the Srikrishna Commission’s report on the anti-Muslim pogrom of 1992-93. Commission reports: who cares? (One of the honourable exceptions among the glitterati and the celebrati was Dev Anand who walked out of a meeting of Bollywood biggies at which Thackeray senior tried to spread the communal virus in the Hindi film industry.)

That was then. Now we have a new kid on the block. And isn’t he cute: Raj Thackeray! We are told that on August 21 the new ‘saviour’ took ‘a mature and restrained approach’, reinvented himself, performed ‘a political masterstroke’, ‘acquired a halo overnight’. How does a fire-breathing, violence-espousing, rabble-rouser turn into an instant ‘rockstar’? Well, you better believe it for SoBo Mouthpiece (Shobhaa De’s August 25 column, Raj ki aag: The new face of Thackeray) says so.

SoBoietis can do all the fawning and swooning they like. But the fact remains that shorn of all the rapturous adjectives and hyperboles, the picture that Raj Thackeray painted of himself and his MNS on August 21 was far from pretty. Except for the gullible, it was true-to-type, ominous and worse. In less than 24 hours, his sainiks were to bare their fangs again. But let me not run ahead of the story. Let what Raj Thackeray did and said that day speak for itself first.

The rally was ostensibly to demand punitive action against the then police commissioner Arup Patnaik’s allegedly abject failure to enforce rule of law during the August 11 rally at Azad Maidan organised by some Muslim organisations. Though police had only given permission for a meeting at Azad Maidan, in characteristic style, Raj Thackeray insisted on a five-km rally from Marine Drive to Azad Maidan in brazen defiance of the police order, thus creating a traffic chaos for several hours.

In short, break the law to protest the (earlier) breakdown of law. The “savior of Mumbai” presumably must be permitted a few indulgences.

At the Azad Maidan, Raj Thackeray hammered home three points.

First, he claimed it was Bangladeshi Muslims who resorted to violence on August 11. In a thought-provoking article he wrote in 2006, former editor and Shiv Sena-backed Rajya Sabha MP, had rightly observed that ‘pro-Pakistani Muslims’ and ‘Bangladeshi Muslims’ are but euphemisms while you target Indian Muslims as a whole. Why the euphemisms? To escape possible prosecution under the anti-hate speech provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Second, Raj Thackeray took great care, reminding the police rank and file that they were Marathi manoos above all else and only incidentally upholders of the Indian Constitution and the rule of law. Nothing new here. This was exactly the tactic employed by Thackeray senior during the late ’80s and the early ’90s: stoking the parochial instincts of the cops, communalising them right under the nose of a benign state. The outcome of his noxious brainwash was the shameful partisan conduct of the Mumbai police during the 1992-93 carnage.

That the young Thackeray’s message immediately hit home was evident when a constable in uniform, Pramod Tawde, marched up to the dias, presented a flower to the new messiah and proceeded to address the media in gross violation of all rules.

Talk to top police officers and you’ll know how alarmed they are at this ominous turn of events. Yeh andar ki baat hai, police hamare saath hai (To tell you a secret, the police are with us)” was an oft-repeated chant of the murderous mobs in Gujarat in 2002. SoBoietis seemingly don’t lose much sleep over such mundane concerns.

Thirdly, at a tangent to his agenda for the day, Raj Thackeray ridiculed the dalits’ recent demand that instead of gifting it to the builder’s lobby, the Maharashtra government should reserve the defunct Indu Mills’ plot for a memorial to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Within hours, outraged dalits from several parts of Maharashtra were burning effigies of Raj Thackeray.

Twenty-four hours later, a bunch of MNS toughies led by their corporator Sandeep Deshpande mercilessly pummelled a small group of dalit men and women who protested against the ‘insult to Babasaheb’ near Raj Thackeray’s residence. Among the women victims of the MNS ire were Puja Badekar and Vijayta Bhonakar.

“They misbehaved with us in the same fashion that some Muslims misbehaved (sexual assault) with police women constables at Azad Maidan on August 11,” they told this writer. Despite a heavy bandobust the cops took their time in restraining the attackers. When the victim dalits tried lodging a criminal complaint at the Shivaji Park police station, they were threatened with a ‘rioting’ charge and driven away.

All this, of course, is not news for the media, much less for our beautiful people. SoBo thinks a film on the new saviour with the title Raj ki aag might be a great idea. I think Aag ka raj may be more appropriate.

The writer is co-editor of Communalism Combat and general secretary, Muslims for Secular Democracy

So what’s new about Mumbai burning? Our response

14 August 2012 , By Jyoti Punwani, The Hindu
MOB FURY: Police failure to anticipate and prevent Saturday’s violence is blameworthy. Photo: Vivek Bendre

MOB FURY: Police failure to anticipate and prevent Saturday’s violence is blameworthy. Photo: Vivek Bendre
Every time the Shiv Sena and the MNS have gone on the rampage in the city, the State government, police and even media have been mute bystanders

Saturday’s violence by Muslim youth has shaken Mumbai. This is probably the first time that policemen have borne the brunt of the violence — of the 63 injured, 58 are policemen. What kind of mob has the guts to attack the police and think it can get away with it? A Muslim social worker has filed a complaint with the police against the organisers for instigating the public; a Muslim lawyer has gone to the High Court with the same demand. The police have so far arrested 23, charged them with murder and other offences, and set up a Special Investigation team (SIT) to probe the sudden outburst of violence. With tons of visual evidence, it won’t be difficult to identify the rioters.

The questions

Despite all these steps, some questions remain. Is it not the organisers’ responsibility to control the crowd they mobilise and ensure that no inflammatory speeches are made? Why aren’t they being arrested, specially since one of the organisers has a record of instigating violence? Why has the man who made the inflammatory speech not been arrested?

Second: why has this flurry of activity not been seen on all the other occasions that mobs have “burnt Mumbai”? While this may be the first time that the police has been targeted, it’s not the first time the media or BEST buses or cars have been vandalised. Indeed, in the last two months, Mumbai has seen frequent displays of such hooliganism. On May 31, observing the National Democratic Alliance-called Bharat Bandh, Shiv Sainiks damaged 42 BEST buses. This despite the chairman and seven of the 17 BEST Committee members being Shiv Sainiks. The chairman explained away the vandalism by saying that “protesters become uncontrollable” on such occasions, and demurred when asked if his party would pay for the damage.

Mid-June saw the new saviour of the Marathi Manoos “kick-off” a campaign against the payment of toll tax. Within 72 hours, three toll nakas were vandalised. Visuals of those actions are pretty similar to videos of Saturday’s violence — the same iron rods, the same smashing of glass. But there was one important difference. After the violence, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLA Shishir Shinde declared in audibly slurred tones, his party’s intention to destroy toll nakas. The police obligingly waited till he finished addressing TV cameras before taking him away in their van. Saturday’s videos had no such bravado — after smashing everything in sight, the topi-clad youth could be seen fleeing for dear life from police lathis. Two youngsters died in the ensuing firing.

The fallout of the two incidents however, may not be too different. Today, an MNS sticker on your car can exempt you from paying toll. And last week, the Maharashtra Chief Minister gave an audience to the man behind the violent anti-toll agitation. Accompanying Raj Thackeray at the meeting with the CM was Shishir Shinde. Two days after Saturday’s violence, Maharashtra’s Home Minister gave a clean chit to one of the organisers of Saturday’s rally, the Raza Academy. Don’t be surprised if the outfit’s chief, Maulana Saeed Noorie, is soon seen sharing the stage with R.R. Patil, Congress Minister Naseem Khan and other influential members of our government. After all, Eid is just round the corner. Had the violence not taken place, the rally’s leading lights would have attended the CM’s iftaar scheduled for Saturday evening.

However, those who rioted aren’t getting the same treatment that Shiv Sainiks and MNS rioters do. It can be argued that attacking the police is more serious than attacking public property. But attacking unarmed citizens only because they belong to a particular faith or region — is that less serious? The MNS’s attacks on North Indians, all televised, are just four years old. Two innocents were killed then. When the National Human Rights Commission directed the State to pay compensation of Rs.5 lakh each to the victims’ families, the government spoke of financial problems. Incidentally, the MNS’s unique way of protecting Marathi pride in 2008 cost the State a loss of Rs.500 crore. As for the Shiv Sena’s record of targeting, often fatally, unarmed South Indians, Muslims, mediapersons, Valentine’s Day lovers, rickshaw drivers — it would be insulting the readers’ intelligence to list the details.

Looking back

Police failure to anticipate and prevent Saturday’s violence is indeed blameworthy. But what’s new? When the Mumbai police has had indications of Sena-led violence, has it ever tried to prevent it? Forget the 1992-93 riots. In December 2010, the Pune police, apprehending violence at a protest called by the Sena, tapped Sena leaders’ phones and heard Milind Narvekar, Uddhav Thackeray’s PA, instruct Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe (a former Socialist) to gather a mob, burn buses and inform TV channels. Everything went according to plan; 54 buses were burnt. Pune’s Police Commissioner repeated the Maharashtra police’s time-honoured motto: “Preventive arrests would have aggravated the situation” and R.R. Patil supported her, saying the police’s priority was to “safeguard law and order and protect the public.”

When Meenatai Thackeray’s statue was desecrated on a Sunday in July 2006, the Sena ran amok. The same man produced another gem: “If the violence continues on Monday, the police will take action.”

After the Sena attacked the IBN Lokmat office in 2009, senior journalist Kumar Ketkar, whose house had been earlier attacked by Nationalist Congress Party supporters because he had dared criticise the plan to set up a Shivaji statue in the middle of the Arabian Sea, told a news channel: “Mumbai has not become feeble, Mumbai has become used to [such violence]. It was in 1966 when the Shiv Sena was born and ever since Maharashtra has been used to this culture. The Shiv Sena worship and encourage violence. So Mumbai’s youth become more and more involved in this and this is a very dangerous trend.”

The Muslim youth who went on a rampage on Saturday are also part of Mumbai. Maybe they felt they would be treated like their Hindutva counterparts.

Their leaders, knowing that’s not possible, have tendered cringing apologies on TV and asked the culprits to turn themselves in. Imagine any of the Thackerays or Togadias doing that. On the contrary, the celebrity columnists and indignant TV anchors now foaming at the mouth at “Mumbai burning” see nothing wrong in conducting long interviews with the Thackerays, where the latter brazenly defend their tactics.

(The author is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)

Who really killed Baby Mohite?

Published: Sunday, Jan 29, 2012,
By Javed Iqbal | Agency: DNA

The residents of Bhim Chhaya at Vikhroli have been on an indefinite dharna since November 19, 2011. While they have been demanding land rights and a right to a home as per the Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojna, they have also been demanding justice for the death of 14-month-old Jayesh Mohite who drowned in one of the miasmic ditches dug by civic authorities to prevent further ‘encroachment’.

The Vikhroli police, at the behest of angry residents, included the names of Mumbai suburban collector Nirmalkumar Deshmukh and deputy collector Shivajirao Davbhat in the First Information Report (FIR), charging them under Section 299, 304 as well as Section 304A, which states, “whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.”

The officials filed for anticipatory bail in the courts and the deputy commissioner of police cleared the officials of the charges and instead submitted a three-page report detailing how the boy’s family are encroachers and anti-social elements.

Yet, before they were ‘encroachers’, in May 2011 the government had relented to a 9-day hunger strike by social activist Medha Patkar that had demanded, besides investigating fraud in the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme, to declare 19 settlements as slums under Section 5 of the Maharashtra Slum Area Act. Bhim Chhaya was one of them.

The right of a settlement to be called a slum would’ve given them rights and protected them from further demolition drives; the settlement was demolished repeatedly “from 2001, almost every year”, according to suburban deputy collector Shivajirao Davbhat. The government, however, relegated on its promise and the settlement was exposed to demolitions once again when on November 16, 2011, bulldozers arrived and ran through the settlement, burning down some homes, while ditches were dug up to make the land uninhabitable.

A little less than a month later, on December 12, Jayesh Mohite drowned in a ditch that wouldn’t have existed if the government had kept its word.

Builder lobby involved too


Read article in DNA here


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