Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam has been booked for addressing a rally of hawkers in suburban Malad yesterday without securing prior permission of the police, an official said today. After Nirupam addressed the rally of around 150 hawkers, workers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) who were trying to evict hawkers from outside the Malad railway station were assaulted in afternoon. Police have arrested seven hawkers under various sections of the IPC, including 307 (attempt to murder). “A case has been registered against Sanjay Nirupam at Malad police station for holding the rally without a prior permission,” Mumbai Police spokesperson and DCP Deepak Devraj said. According to another official, Nirupam has been booked under sections 143 (whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 37 (co-operation by doing one of several acts constituting an offence) of the IPC.
In his address, the Congress leader had said that hawkers will not tolerate hooliganism of MNS activists. “I would not tolerate such high-handedness of MNS leaders against hawkers. The hawkers are capable enough to retaliate to any aggression from MNS,” he had said. After the rally, hawkers allegedly attacked MNS workers, in which one activist received head injuries. Heavy police bandobast was deployed in the area fearing backlash from the MNS. Police have also booked around 40 MNS workers for rioting and arrested 18 of them, an official said.
Further investigation into the matter is underway and more arrests are likely, he added. After MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressed a rally in south Mumbai earlier this month over the death of 23 people in a stampede on the staircase of the foot overbridge (FOB) at suburban Elphinstone Road railway station last month, MNS workers took upon themselves the task of removing hawkers from station premises.