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Maharashtra toll: Raj Thackeray released

Mumbai, Feb 12 : The Mumbai Police released Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) supremo Raj Thackeray hours after he was detained in Chembur suburb when he was protesting against the "illegal" toll collection issue.


"Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan called me up when I was inside the police station. He invited me for talks at 9 am tomorrow," Thackeray told reporters after his release.

"After tomorrow's meeting we will decide on our next course of action on the toll issue. Till then, I urge all my party members to protest peacefully and make sure our action does not cause inconvenience to the people," he said.

The Mumbai Police on Wednesday Thackeray near Chembur suburb.

"We have detained Raj Thackeray. All officers have been instructed to handle this agitation firmly and make sure no untoward incident takes place," said Mumbai's Acting Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Chief Minister said Thackeray was indulging in "unnecessary violence".

"I had given Raj Thackeray time for talks. Then why this vandalism? He wants to politicize the issue ahead of the Lok Sabha elections," said Chavan.

Earlier the same day, Thackeray had asked the public to join MNS' road blockade programme.

"I want all people of Maharashtra to join our agitation. This is not my personal issue. But it is an issue of all of you," Thackeray said on Wednesday morning.

The MNS on Wednesday blocked all roads across the state over the "illegal" toll collection issue.

Security has been tightened across Maharashtra, especially at toll booths. Additional forces have also been deployed outside Thackeray's residence in Mumbai's Dadar area.

So far, nearly 200 MNS activists were detained near Dahisar toll plaza as they were trying to block traffic.

According to reports, at least 100 MNS workers from Nashik, 50 from Thane, 50 from Navi Mumbai and 33 from Vasai were taken into preventive custody.

On Monday, Thackeray had threatened to launch a statewide road blockade agitation on Wednesday over the "illegal" toll collection issue.

Addressing a rally in Pune, he said he will continue his agitation till the time the 'illegal' toll collection centres are shut.

He even dared the Maharashtra government to arrest him as he threatened of agitation.

"I will lead a statewide 'rasta roko' (road blockade) agitation over toll collection on Feb 12. I will see how the government tries to stop or arrest me. I will continue my agitation till the time the 'illegal' toll collection centres are shut," Thackeray said.

He also slammed the Shiv Sena for not supporting him over the issue.

"When I target the government, the Shiv Sena targets me. Are they with the government or in the opposition," Thackeray asked.

Thackeray said his meeting with the Maharashtra Chief Minister to resolve the toll issue has proved futile.

"My meeting with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to resolve the (toll) issue has proved futile. I am left with no option but to continue my agitation against the collection of toll and to side with the anger of people against the unjustified road tax," the MNS chief said addressing the rally.

Thackeray is facing facing multiple cases for vandalising toll booths in Maharashtra.

Pertinently, Thackeray recently asked his party workers not to pay toll even at the cost of resorting to violence.

MNS workers have targeted toll booths across Maharashtra since he gave the order.

--IBNS (Posted on 13-02-2014)

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