Shiv Sena workers ask business owners to shut shops in Sion after leader’s demise
Shiv Sena workers visited commercial establishments in Sion Koliwada on Thursday morning, allegedly asking owners to shut their shops following the demise of their leader Shashikant Sawant.
Sawant, a former Vibhag Pramukh (area chief) of Shiv Sena’s post in Sardar Nagar at Raoli Camp in Sion, passed away during the wee hours on Thursday.
Sena workers allegedly visited establishments in the morning, requesting owners to close their shops out of respect for the deceased leader.
By 12 pm, all commercial establishments around Sion Koliwada area, including those in Makawadi, Raoli Camp, Gandhi Market and others were closed.
While no one was forced to close their shops, some were warned about consequences.
“7-8 Sena workers visited us around 10 am in the morning and politely requested us to close our shops. Since most of us knew Sawant, we decided to comply. But there were some who went on with their business,” said a shop owner from Gandhi Market, requesting anonymity.
“Then, around 12 pm, some party workers visited them again and told them to either shut their shops or not hold them responsible for anything that happens thereafter,” he said, adding that after the second visit, all shops in the market were closed.
A resident of Sardar Nagar and an active political figure in the area, Sawant was popularly referred to a ‘Shashi Bhai’ by locals.
As Sena workers prepared a grand farewell for the leader, hundreds of followers and well wishers gathered outside Sena’s office to pay their last regards. Antop Hill police also deployed additional force to maintain law and order.
Senior Police Inspector Nasir Shaikh with Antop Hill Police Station told Local Press Co, “Mr Sawant passed away around 1 am at Sion Hospital due to natural causes. Although no law and order situation has arised, we have deployed force as a precaution.”
When asked if he was aware of Sena workers visiting commercial establishments and asking them to shut shops, Shaikh said, “No one told us about any interference. If the owners have closed their shops, they have done it on their own accord.”
Some of the establishments are likely to re-open in the evening after the funeral is over.
Over the years, the saffron party has often used their ability to bring businesses to a standstill in the country’s financial capital to show their political might.