'Being Misled': Sharad Pawar on Attack on His House; 103 MSRTC Workers Arrested
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has labelled the protests as a 'conspiracy'.
Reporter: Ritvick Bhalekar
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Rajbir Singh
Around 103 Maharashtra State Regional Transport Corporation (MSRTC) workers who protested outside Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar's residence on Friday, were presented before Esplanade Court in Mumbai on Saturday, 9 April, reported news agency ANI.
The protest, where shoes and stones were allegedly hurled at Pawar's residence, has now been termed as a 'conspiracy' by Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
"It was a conspiracy. Soon it will be revealed who was behind it. Sharad Pawar Sahib had no connection with ST workers strike. Someone is trying to disturb the political & social atmosphere in Maharashtra."Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena Leader
Raut's party runs a tri-party coalition government with the NCP and the Congress in Maharashtra, with Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, according to news agency ANI, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at the latter's residence, on Saturday, in the aftermath of the incident.
MSRTC Workers Being Misled: Pawar
Earlier on Friday , NCP chief Sharad Pawar had said that MSRTC workers were being misled after they staged a demonstration outside his house in Mumbai.
"They are being misled. ST employees and we've a very old relationship, in last 40-50 years I've not missed any session with them. This time protest was shown wrong path and result of that is an incident of today," Pawar said.
Gamdevi Police later arrested MSRTC employees’ leader Gunaratna Sadavarte, ANI reported.
Meanwhile, reacting to the developments of the previous day, Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar was quoted by ANI on Friday morning as saying:
"It's a fact that there was an intelligence failure. A senior police officer has been appointed to probe the incident and find who was behind it."
The workers reportedly pelted stones and shoes at the building, IANS reported. Police later arrested 105 people and registered cases against them under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), ANI reported.
Earlier, the protesting workers were detained by police outside Pawar's residence.
Scores of MSRTC workers protested against the Maha Vikhas Aghadi (MVA) administration, demanding the inclusion of the ST corporation under the state government. This action would entitle ST workers to avail of benefits granted to the state government employees.
The workers have now been striking for over a hundred days. Meanwhile, Pawar said the workers are being misled.
The Mumbai Police had earlier detained Gunaratna Sadavarte and said, "An investigation is being done over his recent speech which seems to have provoked the protesting employees of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation."
Attack on Pawar's House Highly Condemnable: Chief Minister's Secretariat of Maharashtra
The Chief Minister's Secretariat of Maharashtra later said that the attack on senior leader Sharad Pawar's house was highly condemnable.
"Chief Minister said that he had instructed the Home Minister to take stern action against those who incited or incited violence as well as those who incited it."
"No one should act in a way that endangers law and order in response to this heinous incident. The government will always be with the ST workers and their families for their welfare," the Chief Minister's Secretariat of Maharashtra added.
Earlier, Maharashtra HM Dilip Walse Patil said, "I have given instructions to Mumbai CP Sanjay Pandey & joint commissioner, law and order, Vishwas Nangre Patil to take strict action against those responsible." He added that someone had misled the MSRTC workers and the protest was backed by someone else.
Supriya Sule Pleads With Protesters
Earlier, NCP MP Supriya Sule, Pawar's daughter, rushed out of the house in an attempt to appease the agitating transport workers. She requested them to remain calm and said that she would sit with them for negotiations at that moment. However, the protesters did not agree.
As per IANS, Sule told protesters,
"With folded hands, I am pleading to you... please keep calm, my parents and my children are there at home. Don't indulge in such behaviour"
Soon afterward, a posse of senior police officers rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.
Pawar has been accorded Z-Plus category security.
Transport Minister Anil Parab indicated recently that no action would be taken against the employees if they rejoined duty by April 22, the deadline set by the Bombay High Court.
NCP Workers Hold Protests in Pune
Meanwhile, NCP workers held agitations in Pune to condemn the attack on Pawar’s residence in Mumbai. They also demanded the arrest of MSRTC employees’ leader Gunwant Sadavarte.
“We condemn the attack on Pawar’s residence. The way Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are supporting the attack, shows that the agitations on Pawar’s residence were pre-planned. Sadavarte should be arrested immediately,” NCP spokesman Ankush Kakade said.
(With inputs from HT & IANS.)
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