MUMBAI: Members of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena on Wednesday vandalized the Marine Drive office of former city sheriff Nana Chudasama over a message on his popular banner.
Chudasama is known for witty lines on current affairs that he puts up on a banner outside his office.
The banner currently says: “Promoting Marathi welcomed, diktat not welcomed.”
“Nearly 15 men arrived at the office, waited for him to finish work and then began to abuse him and shout slogans. They also abused the security and staff,” said one of the two women employees at the office.
“They pulled down the banner from the window, and told us they were doing so on his instructions, which is not true. They then began to vandalize the place, broke flower pots and showpieces in the office and threw down the phone,” she said.
Chudasama’s daughter and BJP spokesperson Shaina NC said, “We have put the banner back up. My father came back to the office in the evening and said he was sad over what was happening, but insisted he would continue writing for the banner.”
MNS vice-president Nayan Kadam told TOI: “The media and page-three types have always been hammering MNS on the issue of violence and vandalizm. But many of them are plainly anti-Marathi, and this provokes violence. Does Shaina NC, a senior BJP functionary, agree with the government diktat on Marathi cinema?”
A senior police officer said around 6.15pm, a group of 10 to 15 men belonging to MNS arrived at Chudasama’s office. Cops identified some of them as Arvind Gavade, Tushar Salien, Deepak Kamble and Srikant Borule. The men barged into the first floor office and pulled down the banner and set it afire before the media.
“We have registered an offence of rioting under Criminal Amendment Act. We will arrest the accused,” said the officer.
Marine Drive police have deployed security near Chudasama’s office.
They also smashed his car, said Shaina. “He is a Padmashri and has been running the banner for the last 55 years. He even launched a book called ‘History on a Banner’,” she said.
“Any kind of vandalism is an act of cowardice. We are open to people coming out and shouting slogans. That’s part of democracy. But this involved barging into someone’s office and breaking and burning things. The moral of this entire episode suggests one thing—the pen is mightier than the sword,” she added.