Toll stir turns into damp squib

MNS chief Raj released after calling off protest

Toll stir turns into damp squib

The much-hyped toll agitation organised by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Wednesday turned out to be a damp squib with party chief Raj Thackeray withdrawing it after being detained by the police coupled with an invite by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for talks on the issue.

On Wednesday, MNS party workers began picketing at toll outpost outside the periphery of Mumbai and after an hour Thackeray joined the agitators at Vashi toll outpost.

The police intercepted his vehicle on the Eastern Express Highway and detained him. Thackeray was then taken to RCF police station in Chembur.

The police said Thackeray was detained since he violated a notice issued under Section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code on Tuesday which asked him to stay away from the agitation.

Additional Police Commissioner Pravin Salunkhe said that the MNS chief was let off after two hours. Sources said Thackeray was told that he would not be released till he calls of the agitation.

After his release, Thackeray said: “Our intention is not to cause trouble but to make the government take note of our demand. The chief minister had called me when I was inside and has invited me to Sahyadri Guest House at 9 am to discuss the key demands.”

The MNS chief, while making it clear that he is “not opposed to toll collection”, has demanded transparency in the collection model. Since Monday, there was fear over Mumbai of a possible outbreak of violence.

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