Police stop Munde,
twice, on his way to Miraj
Kiran Tare & Naveeta Singh
was high drama at the domestic airport in Santa Cruz on Monday
morning. Gopinath Munde, general secretary of the BJP, was stopped
from boarding a flight to Kolhapur, en route to the communally tense
Miraj, where he was to address a meeting. The police action led to a
five-hour dharna by BJP workers outside the airport. The cops had to
lathi-charge when the situation threatened to get out of control.
Later, Munde left for Miraj by road, with party colleagues Vinod Tawde
and Madhu Chavan. But the cops stopped him again at Amritanjan Ghat
near Lonavla, on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. However, as the Pune
collector had not issued any detention order, the police allowed Munde
to proceed for MIraj. Following the second detention, BJP workers
jammed the Expressway.
Earlier, when Munde was heading for security check at the domestic
terminal, the police forced Kingfisher Airlines to cancel his boarding
pass. "Around 9.15 am, the Kolhapur collector's office called, asking
us not to allow Munde to go to Kolhapur," said a senior officer of
airport police station.
Brijesh Singh, deputy commissioner of police, said, "Munde was
prevented from going to Miraj in the wake of the communal clashes
there." The BJP leader trashed allegations that his visit would have
fuelled the tension. "I was going there to restore communal harmony.
My visit to Miraj was not to disturb the peace, but to maintain the
peace," he said.
Santa Cruz airport police were in the process of registering an FIR