Mumbai's Vakola Police station has taken legal action against five individuals, including Anil Parab, a close associate of Uddhav Thackeray and former minister, for allegedly assaulting Ajay Patil, an engineer from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
As per the First Information Report (FIR) filed on Tuesday, a group of around 20 to 25 people, including women associated with the Shiv Sena (UBT), forcefully entered Mumbai's H/East ward office in Vakola on Monday afternoon. They demanded action against those responsible for demolishing their party office in Bandra (E). They alleged that the demolition took place without removing the photos of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Bal Thackeray. However, the BMC stated that the party office was illegal and obstructing a road, and denied damaging any photos during the demolition.
During the commotion at the ward office, two men allegedly held Patil, while two others slapped him. BMC security police intervened and escorted Patil to safety.
A police officer, speaking anonymously, stated, "After registering an FIR, we arrested Sada Parab, Haji Alim, Uday Dalvi, and Santosh Kadam. They have been remanded in judicial custody, and we may soon summon Anil Parab."
DCP Dikshit Gedam confirmed the incident, stating, "Four individuals have been arrested by Vakola police, and the matter is currently under investigation," in an interview with the Free Press Journal.
In response to the incident, the Municipal Engineers Association (MEA) and other BMC unions staged a protest in front of the H/East ward office on Tuesday, demanding the arrest of Anil Parab. MEA also submitted a representation to the BMC commissioner, urging the pursuit of stringent legal provisions to prevent such assaults in the future.
Sainath Rajadhyaksha, executive Chairman of MEA, said, "After this assault incident, employees and officers are afraid to work. We need a law to protect civic employees similar to the one for doctors."
Yashwant Dhuri, MEA Secretary, stated, "Although employees wanted to go on strike in support of the demand for Anil Parab's arrest, we dissuaded them as a strike during the monsoon would significantly affect citizens. However, we have urged the commissioner to ensure police protection for BMC employees."
The BMC has denied allegations that photos of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Bal Thackeray were damaged during the demolition. They clarified that individuals in the "shakha" were given ample time of over two hours to remove all photographs. The demolition was carried out only after all the photos were taken down, strictly following the law.