Police detained several Congress leaders outside the Vidhan Bhavan here on Friday to prevent them from staging a protest opposite the Raj Bhavan as part of the party's nationwide stir against the Centre over price rise, the GST hike on essential items and unemployment.
State Congress president Nana Patole and former ministers Balasaheb Thorat, Varsha Gaikwad, Naseem Khan, Chandrakant Handore were among some of the leaders who were detained. Videos of the leaders being detained were circulated on social media.
The Congress leaders said they had planned to carry out a protest march to the Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor in south Mumbai, to protest against the Centre's policies.
As per the plan announced on Thursday, the march was to begin from Hanging Garden and culminate at the Raj Bhavan around 11 am.
A heavy deployment of police was put in place outside the Vidhan Bhavan, the state legislature complex, where Congress leaders held a meeting. However, the police personnel prevented them from proceeding to the Raj Bhavan, located a few kilometres away.
Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat told the police that it was their right to stage an agitation over the issues concerning people, including rising inflation.
"Even in the British rule, peaceful protests were allowed. But under the 'ED' government, even this is not possible," Thorat told them in an apparent reference to Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government in the state.
Former chief minister Ashok Chavan said the Congress planned to hold a peaceful protest.
A police officer told the Congress leaders that they can hold a protest at Azad Maidan. But the party leaders argued with the police, following which they were detained and taken to the Azad Maidan police station.
Police said that notices had been sent to several Congress leaders in Mumbai, reminding them that prohibitory orders were in place, which prevents gathering of five or more people at one place.
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