Five Shiv Sena activists were arrested on Wednesday after members of the Maharashtra-based right-wing outfit disrupted Tuesday's Dussehra celebrations of Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirit Somaiya in the Mumbai suburb of Mulund. The incident and its aftermath brought back to the fore the widening rift between the Sena and its erstwhile ally, the BJP, both at the state and the Centre.
It all started when the Sena men reportedly disrupted Dussehra celebrations on Tuesday. "Today, Somaiya was at the event to burn the effigy of Ravan, which was a symbol of prevailing corruption in MCGM led by Shiv Sena. But the Sena workers disrupted our programme," local BJP leader Prakash Gangadhare was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI).
The elections are due soon for Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), also known as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Shiv Sena is not partnering with erstwhile ally, the BJP, for it.
"Sena workers disrupted the programme and forced us to end it. They also took away the effigy," said a local leader, adding that they also "manhandled women workers of their party who were objected to their hooliganism."
Shiv Sena spokesperson Arvind Bhosale, however, told PTI: "From our point of view, Somaiya is himself a Ravan and therefore, he did not have any moral right to burn the effigy of Ravan because Ravan cannot burn himself."
"In fact, our party workers prevented a mischief and the effigy of Ravan was burnt by the true followers of Ram," he added.
A case has been filed after a complaint was lodged with the local police station. On Wednesday, the investigators nabbed Kiran Nande, Nilesh Sawant, Nilesh Thakkar, Sunil Gore and Kishore Bhoir. They are in their late 30s and early 40s, and are residents of Mulund East.
"We have registered an offence against Shiv Sena activists and arrested five people under IPC sections 324, 323, 504 and 506, besides other relevant sections of the law," police said.