Nashik: Two days after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray reinvigorated his anti-North Indians campaign after a brief lull at a huge rally in Thane, clashes on Monday broke out between the MNS activists and North Indians in Satpur area of the city when party activists tried to disrupt a cultural programme.
According to sources, the MNS activists staged a demonstration outside a Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) school in Satpur suburb of the city, where a cultural programme of North Indians was being held.
In the programme, the North Indians were present in large numbers and a session of Bhojpuri song was going on. Thinking that the crowd was celebrating 'Uttar Pradesh Din', the activists first held demonstration. Even after their demonstration when the programme did not stop, angry MNS activists broke the school gates and entered the premises and started beating up the participants.
They also destroyed the pandal at the venue and burnt the carpets there.
The participants confronted them but in vain. A stone pelting incident also took place at the venue. The MNS activists succeeded in disrupting the programme.
Following this incident, police reached the spot and brought the situation under control. The incident did not have any effect in other parts of the city. A vigil has been kept in the area, police said.
''We will do what we have said. The programme was a show of strength. We will not allow such programmes,'' MNS state general secretary Vasant Gite said.
''North Indians celebrate cultural programme on January 26 every year. The National Integrity programme was organised to pay tribute to the martyrs of November 26 Mumbai attacks. The act of MNS is totally wrong. Police did not act despite demand of 'bandobast'. The MNS is getting hidden support from the Congress and the NCP,'' CITU leader Dr D L Karad alleged. Dr Vasudha Karad, Mr Karad's wife, was among the organisers of the programme.
''Strict legal action will be taken against the attackers,'' Deputy Chief Minister and District Guardian Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said.
Eight MNS activists have been arrested so far in this connection, police added.