The attack occurred in the evening, when only a few peons were present inside the building. No one was injured.
Constructed in 1928, the building is owned by the lone trust run by Marathis in Kanpur. Over the years, it has served as an important venue for prominent festivals, including Ganesh Utsav and Krishna Janmastami.
Bal Mandir, a school up to Class VIII, with student strength of over 200, operates from the building.
Arun Hardekar, the manager of the school and the building, told police that unidentified people — some of them women — shouting anti-Raj Thackeray slogans began brickbatting the building in the evening. “The window panes have been shattered and furniture has been damaged,” he said. No one, however, entered the building.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Kanpur, Hari Ram Sharma told The Indian Express: “Prima facie, it appears that the people were provoked to attack the Maharastra Bhawan.” A search for the culprits is on.
“On charges of creating disturbance, disrupting law and order and damaging private property, a case has been registered under Sections 147, 336 and 427 of the IPC,” he said.
Sources said the violence was carried out by members of Dalit Baudh Panther (DBP), though the police or Hardekar are yet to confirm it. Prior to the attack, the DBP members held a protest against the MNS and Raj Thackeray at Colonelganj crossing and burnt an effigy of Raj Thackeray.
President of the DBP, Dhanirao Baudh, said: “Though we are strongly against the act of Raj Thackeray and the MNS, we were not involved in the violence at Khalasi Line area.” But he said the protests against the MNS will continue till justice is done to North Indians in Mumbai and Maharastra. “Raj Thackeray should be arrested and made to apologise in public for creating differences between people and promoting regionalism,” he added.