Mumbai tense following arrest of right-wing leader
The detention of Raj Thackeray, an anti-immigrant activist, threatens to stoke communal tensions against workers from northern states in India's financial hub.
Police in Mumbai have arrested Raj Thackeray, a controversial right-wing leader, sparking widespread protests and stoking communal tensions in India's financial capital. In the wake of the arrest on Tuesday, security was tightened across Mumbai (Bombay). This is the second time in eight months that Mr. Thackeray has been detained for pushing an anti-immigrant agenda.Skip to next paragraph
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Thackeray, the chief of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), was taken into custody after members of his party attacked job candidates from North Indian states, reports ZeeNews, an Indian news group.
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, reacting to Raj's arrest, said the police have arrested an individual who had taken the law into his own hands.
"There was no pressure from the Centre [national government] and we will now strictly follow the legal procedure," he said.
Deputy Chief Minister R. R. Patil said the state government by arresting Thackeray had shown that "he was not above the law".
Thackeray appeared in a Mumbai court on Tuesday to face charges. The city police, meanwhile, issued a gag order against the MNS chief, preventing him from addressing the press or the public or leading a public procession for the next two months, reports The Times of India, a national Indian newspaper.
Thackeray's party has previously been accused of attacking migrant workers from North India in Mumbai and he was briefly arrested in February of this year for inciting communal tensions. The MNS agitates for more jobs for locals in the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, and protests against the presence of migrants who arrive in search of work from northern states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, two of India's poorest states, reports Reuters.