MNS workers drive illegal hawkers out of stations

MNS workers drive illegal hawkers out of stations

Two groups of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers on Saturday vandalised illegal stalls and drove hawkers away at the Thane and Kalyan suburban stations here.

The attack comes in the wake of the September 29 stampede on the Elphinstone Road-Parel foot overbridge in which 23 people were killed and 38 injured.

The MNS - which is trying hard to gain political footing once again - had taken up the issue of clogged passageways on suburban stations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region because of illegal hawkers.

On October 5, party chief Raj Thackeray had set a 15-day deadline to the Railways to clear the illegal stalls.

"I have given an ultimatum of 15 days....and if it does not happen, on 16th day my people will do it...and MNS as a party and MNS workers would not be responsible," he had said after meeting A K Gupta, general manager of Western Railway, and D K Sharma, general manager of Central Railway.

On October 11, Raj had also met Ajoy Mehta, commissioner, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, on the issue.

Over the last fortnight, the Railways and civic administration removed hundreds of illegal hawkers. However, they were back in business again.

As the news of the Thane and Kalyan station incidents spread like wildfire, illegal hawkers were seen vacating premises in other stations.

"They did not leave the area so we acted against them this morning," said Avinash Jadhav, president of the MNS's Thane unit.

The Congress and the NCP targeted the Devendra Fadnavis government and accused it of helping the MNS.

"The government was aware of the threats of the MNS. But, the chief minister is hand-in-glove with the MNS and hence, north Indians are allowed to be tortured," Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said.

"How can the government remain silent over the threat," said Leader of the Opposition in the Council, Dhananjay Munde, of the NCP.

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