Special Correspondent

Two police officers suspended

Number of arrests rises to 233

Mumbai: Disapproving of their outfit’s stand against north Indians, 200 activists of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena returned to the parent party, Shiv Sena.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Ramdas Kadam of the Shiv Sena, criticising MNS chief Raj Thackeray, said his party would not support attacks on people from other States in the name of upholding the cause of Marathis.

In a statement, he said the Shiv Sena was born to fight for justice for Marathis and it stood by them. But it would not support anybody provoking regionalism by “hijacking our agenda.” The Shiv Sena accepted a far more inclusive Hindutva, Mr. Kadam said.

Referring to the recent incidents, Shiv Sena spokesman Vinayak Raut said what happened was a fight between the MNS and the Samajwadi Party and not a clash between north Indians and Marathis.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh reviewed the situation at a meeting of senior police officials. Inspector Motiram Kadam and sub-inspector Deepak Pawar were suspended for dereliction of duty on Sunday. They were assigned duty at Dadar, where a mob assaulted a cab driver and damaged his vehicle. A departmental inquiry has been instituted against Assistant Commissioner Balkrishna Bhange. Meanwhile, the number of arrests has risen to 233. They include 143 of the MNS and 90 from the Samajwadi Party. They are facing 14 different charges of violence.

The police told Mr. Raj Thackeray that he should restrain his followers. But he did not issue any appeal.

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