Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that although the BJP doesn't support Union Minister Narayan Rane's remarks about slapping Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the party stands with him.
"We don't support Narayan Rane's statement (against Uddhav Thackeray) but I, as an individual and the party stand with him. Sharijil Usmani abused Bharat Mata but no FIR was registered against him but you (state govt) filed FIR against Narayan Rane," the BJP leader told ANI.
"It is state sponsored violence. This is 'police jivi' govt. There is a proverb in Hindi -- "saiyaan bhaye kotwal to darr kaahe ka," he further said on clashes between Shiv Sena-BJP workers in Mumbai over Narayan Rane's comment.
Earlier today, activists of the Shiv Sena's youth wing and the BJP clashed with each other near Union minister Narayan Rane's residence in Mumbai on Tuesday in the wake of his comments against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, police said.
Stones were pelted from both the sides, following which police used cane-charge to disperse the agitators, an official said.
The Shiv Sena workers sat on the Juhu Tara Road in Santacruz (West) near Rane's residence, and activists from both the sides shouted slogans against each other, the official said.
Following the incident, the road was blocked from two sides, disrupting traffic in the area.
Additional police force was deployed in the area, the official said.
The clash took place during a protest organised by activists of the Yuva Sena (the Shiv Sena's youth wing) against Union minister Rane, he added.
BJP workers had gathered outside Rane's residence in the morning in support of their party leader, while Shiv Sena activists, including women, carrying placards and shouting slogans against Rane, had assembled outside an office of the Yuva Sena (the party's youth wing), located nearby in Juhu.
Heavy police security was deployed outside Rane's residence, the official said.
According to police, Shiv Sena and BJP supporters also clashed at Chiplun in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district.
Besides, stones were hurled at the BJP's office in Nashik city, while Shiv Sena workers held agitations in Nagpur, officials said.
Rane, who was recently inducted into the Union cabinet, had sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, for what he claimed as the latter's ignorance of the year of India's independence.
"It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap," Rane said during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in adjoining Raigad district on Monday.
Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey on Tuesday issued orders for the immediate arrest of Rane and a team of the city police left for Chiplun in Konkan region, where Rane is present now, after a complaint against the Union minister over the remarks.
A case was also registered against Rane in Pune, while the Shiv Sena lodged a complaint against him at a police station in Aurangabad.