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Sea Link toll raid

Mumbai, Jan. 28: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena today continued its violent protests against toll collection and attacked the booth on the iconic Bandra-Worli Sea Link, undeterred by stern warnings from the Nationalist Congress Party.

Bandra police increased security at the toll plaza this afternoon after MNS activists began gathering on the bridge. Regardless of the cops, the activists stormed the booth and began throwing stones. The police moved swiftly and controlled the mob, limiting damage to the booth. Over 15 MNS activists, led by Kaptan Malik, were arrested.

Today’s attack came a day after MNS activists in many cities, including Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Solapur, Jalna, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Sangli, Nashik and Beed, vandalised over 22 booths following a directive by Raj Thackeray. The MNS chief has been protesting against the lack of transparency in the toll collection process.

On Sunday, Raj had asked party workers not to pay toll and attack booths, irrespective of the public nuisance it may cause. The violence began in the wee hours on Monday and spread across the state.

The Maharashtra minister for marketing, Harshavardhan Patil, said the government would soon announce measures to make the toll collection process transparent. Several parties have demanded an audit by the comptroller and auditor general into the process.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had warned that vandalism at toll booths would not be tolerated and action would be taken against anyone breaking the law. State home minister R.R. Patil said Raj’s speech would be examined for provocative content before action is taken.