The state government and police promised stern action against guilty persons as the offices of famous Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari and Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam were stoned in sporadic incidents of violence sparked by an anti-north Indian campaign by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for the third day on Tuesday.
Fresh arrests were made on Tuesday and they included Bala Nandgaonkar, Shiv Sena MLA, but a close confidante of MNS chief Raj Thackeray, MNS spokesperson Shishir Shinde and senior functionary Yashwant Killedar besides MNS and Samajwadi Party activists, police said. They were arrested in connection with the violence.
Congress spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam, who was earlier Shiv Sena MP, was arrested along with 36 supporters at the Shivaji Park in central Mumbai, before they could embark on a rally to Raj's residence.
A day after an FIR was filed by SP leader Amar Singh against MNS leader Raj Thackeray for alleged criminal intimidation, K L Prasad, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), said, "We are analysing the statements made by leaders from the MNS as well as the Samajwadi Party recently and looking specifically for explicit statements on regionalism made by them."
The recent clashes are "as bad as the bomb blasts" witnessed in 2006, Prasad said.
Thackeray also faced a case of criminal conspiracy filed by an activist from the Sharad Pawar-led NCP before the Andheri Metropolitan Court.
Activist Munna Tripathi, who heads the Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad, filed the case charging Thackeray with criminal conspiracy, rioting with deadly weapons, promoting enmity between two groups, assertings prejudicing national integrity and criminal intimidation.
Fuelling further tensions, Vasant Gite, a MNS corporator from Nashik, said his outfit will not allow trains coming from North India in Maharashtra if north Indian leaders do not stop from making allegedly provocative speeches.
Prasad said, "Actually, the action (against political leaders) was expected today (Tuesday) itself but the Advocate General was unwell due to which the action has been deferred to tomorrow (Wednesday)." He however did not name any leader.
If not arresting them, we can also serve notices on them asking them to observe restraint while making statements," said Prasad.
Prasad said instances of stone pelting were reported at the offices of Tiwari as well as of Nirupam at Andheri and a shoestore owned by an SP leader. Nine taxis were also damaged since Sunday, he said.
"We have arrested those caught for stone pelting and rioting for criminal conspiracy... MNS leaders were also a part of the same conspiracy. All of them were present in Dadar, when the violence erupted on Sunday evening," Prasad said.
As many as 112 activists from the MNS and 19 from the Samajwadi Party have also been arrested since Sunday, Prasad added.
Meanwhile, the MNS chief, notwithstanding the outcry against his tirade against North Indians and attacks on them by his party activists, showed up at the wedding reception of city Police Commissioner D N Jadhav's daughter on Tuesday night.
Accompanied by his wife Sharmila, Raj blessed the newly weds at the ceremony held in suburban Goregaon.
Clad in a grey suit and a red coloured tie, Raj posed for pictures along with Jadhav.
Jadhav was not available for comment.
Raj's estranged cousin and Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray also made an appearance at the reception, witnesses said, adding the timings of their visit to the function was however different.