Mumbai: With Karnataka political crisis reaching the shores of Mumbai, police have imposed Section 144, prohibiting the assembly of more than four people, in Powai area where the rebel legislators of Congress and JDS are lodged at a hotel.
Authorities imposed the restriction in Powai Police station limits till July 12 due to "likelihood of breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquillity". Earlier today, slogans were raised against Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar by angry supporters of 10 dissident Congress-JD(S) MLAs outside the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in the area.
"Based on the information received on various sources, it is apprehended that there is a likelihood of breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquillity and also there is grave danger to human lives and loss of properties and the undersigned in the capacities of Executive Magistrate is fully satisfied that there are sufficient reasons/grounds for passing prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC-1973 to ensure that no untoward/unwanted incidents occur," read the order signed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) and Executive Magistrate Manjunath Singe.
"This order does not apply to public gatherings that are taking place with permission of competent authorities and if anyone requires a special exemption, they may apply to Commissioner of Police, Brihan Mumbai," the order further stated.
It also mentioned that any person contravening this order shall be punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Congressman Shivakumar reached outside the hotel in Mumbai this morning to pacify the rebel legislators.
Security was tightened outside the hotel after MLAs wrote a letter to Mumbai Commissioner of Police on Tuesday seeking protection, stating: "We have heard Chief Minister and DK Shivakumar are going to storm the hotel, we feel threatened." "We do not want to meet him (Shivakumar), kind request to help us in this matter and do not allow them to enter the hotel premises," the letter said.
Among the MLAs who have signed the letter are Shivram Hebbar, Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, ST Somashekar, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrathi Basavaraj, Gopalaiyya, H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda, and Mahesh Kumutali. The 13-month old Congress-JD(S) government slumped into crisis following the resignation of 10 MLAs from the membership of the state Assembly last week. Congress' Roshan Baig and independent H Nagesh have also deserted the HD Kumaraswamy government.
The state Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the 225-member Assembly is 113. The Congress-JD(S) coalition is making all efforts to protect its government which seems to have fallen short of a majority.
The Congress party has been constantly accusing the BJP of conspiring to topple Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka. However, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his reply in Parliament, asserted that his party is committed to parliamentary democracy and has no relation with the developments in Karnataka.