The city will witness heightened police presence with the Mumbai Police calling in extra force into the state capital for a morcha by Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) parties, and a counter protest by the BJP, to be held on Saturday. Follow live updates on MVA, BJP rallies
The MVA protest will address recent controversies such as the remarks about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, unemployment and industrial investment expected for the state going to Gujarat, and inflation, Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar said on Thursday.
The march that will head to Azad Maidan from Byculla Zoo is expected to be a show of strength of the MVA coalition – a first-of-its-kind since the split in the Shiv Sena in June, and ahead of the civic polls.
Mumbai Police on Friday granted the MVA parties the permission to carry out the rally.
“Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut tried to create a controversy over Ambedkar’s birthplace, while another leader, Sushma Andhare, insulted Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, saint Dynaneshwar and saint Eknath as well as the Warkari community,” Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said.
On MVA protest, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said no one has a problem with the opposition exercising its democratic right to stage a peaceful protest. “The government will ensure law and order is maintained and the protest completes peacefully,” he said.
An officer from Mumbai Police said a total of 2,500 police personnel will be deployed along with 250 officers in order to ensure that there are no law and order problems.
In addition, 20 State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) platoons and around three vehicles of riot control police will be pressed into service to ensure that peace is maintained for the duration of the protest march.
The officer said that around eight Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCP) and two Additional Police Commissioners will be pressed into service in order to oversee the security arrangements. “Gathering of all the security staff has started from Friday evening near Byculla,” an officer said.
The officer added that they would also be making use of drone cameras in order to ensure that the Mumbai Police Control room can monitor the morcha on a real-time basis. This will be in addition to the feed from CCTV cameras that is constantly monitored at the control room.
“Since the BJP has also planned a protest, security will be heightened across the city tomorrow (on Saturday) and police personnel from other units like the crime branch will be pressed into service for bandobast duty,” the officer added.
Thane Police too have pressed extra personnel into bandobast duty in light of the bandh call being made against MVA leaders, an official said.
(With PTI inputs)