OTHERS

DF Govt. keen on prosecution

NEW DELHI JULY 20. The Democratic Front Maharashtra Government appears determined to go ahead with the proposed prosecution of the Shiv Sena chief, Mr. Bal Thackeray, as soon as adequate paramilitary forces are made available to it.

``We are waiting for the paramilitary forces, the next step will follow immediately after that,'' said the Maharashtra Minister of State for Home, Mr. Kripashankar, soon after meeting the Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani.

Mr. Kripashankar and his ministerial colleague, Mr. Manikrao Thackeray, sought 27 companies of paramilitary forces from the Home Minister to help the State deal with any eventuality on the law and order front.

Mr. Advani assured the two that the Centre would fulfill its ``constitutional responsibility in the correct manner''. He told them that four companies of the Rapid Action Force had already been placed at the disposal of the State and more companies would be withdrawn from other States if required.

Governor sends report

It is learnt that the State Governor, Dr. P.C. Alexander, had also sent a ``factual'' report to the Home Ministry yesterday.The North Block remained the hub of activity throughout the evening. After the two Maharashtra Ministers, the former State Chief Minister, Mr. Narayan Rane of the Shiv Sena, and the former Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Gopinath Munde of the BJP, who airdashed to the Capital tonight, were also scheduled to have a meeting with Mr. Advani.

The State Government had written to the Centre on July 16 asking for 21 companies but only four companies of RAF were sent. However, according to Mr. Kripashankar, the request for additional forces was made again on July 17 to ``make it possible for the Government to take preventive steps''.

According to the two Ministers, they apprised Mr. Advani in detail about the situation prevailing in the State and ``tension caused due to rumour-mongering'' by the Shiv Sena activists. They sought to impress upon the Home Minister that the forces were needed to enable the Government to take ``preventive measures and contain communal tension''.

Mr. Kripashankar and Mr. Manikrao Thackeray also called on the Congress(I) chief, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, and the general secretary in-charge of the State, Mr. Moti Lal Vora, in the evening to apprise them of the situation in the State.