Rapid Action Force had to be deployed near Dadar railway station on Wednesday morning after the area saw major unrest following a clash between Congress and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers over the ongoing hawker issue.
According to preliminary information, Congress workers arrived at the crowded Dadar market area earlier today to lend support to hawkers who are being forcefully evicted by MNS workers over the last two weeks.
The party also demanded a dedicated hawking zone for the 5,000 plus hawkers operating in the area.
Their pro-hawker stance, however, did not go down well with the Raj Thackeray-led MNS, whose activists reached the spot a little later and started hurling potatoes at Congress workers.
Workers of both parties got involved in a scuffle, following which police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse the crowd. RAF officials were also called in to control the situation.
Meanwhile, dozens of party workers – belonging to both Congress and MNS – have been detained for vandalism. The situation is currently under control.
The two parties have been at loggerheads since last week, when a group of hawkers attacked MNS workers in Malad. The hawkers, MNS claimed, were instigated by Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam, who had held a rally of street vendors last Saturday.
While Nirupam was booked by Malad police for addressing a rally without police permission, MNS retaliated by protesting outside his house. However, this was the first time the parties clashed head-on.
MNS has blamed illegal hawkers for the stampede at Elphinstone Road station on September 29, in which 23 people died.
Following the tragedy, the party issued an ultimatum to authorities for clearing the railway premises of illegal hawkers.
Since the ultimatum failed to garner the expected response, MNS workers have been carrying out an anti-hawker drive since the last two weeks and forcefully evicting hawkers from railway premises.
Earlier, at least 40 MNS workers had been detained for protesting near Nakshatra mall in Dadar without police permission on October 24.
— Amir khan (@Amirkha01168110) November 1, 2017
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— ANI (@ANI) November 1, 2017