The diktat for not paying toll came on Sunday: ‘If anyone stops you, trample him’, is what Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray told partyworkers. The action followed swiftly. By late Sunday, several toll booths were the target of fury of suspected MNS activists.
In Dahisar, 33 people were arrested for protesting against toll collection and vandalising booths on Monday morning. They were let off on bail. In Mulund and Airoli, two booths were damaged late on Sunday. “At least 20 activists carrying wooden planks and stones damaged the booths,” said senior inspector Ganesh Gaikwad of Navghar police station. Ten protesters were arrested and booked for rioting and damaging public property. They were produced in a local court which released them on bail, said Gaikwad.
In 2012, Thackeray had asked people not to pay toll, alleging that toll booth operators were making money due to lax government policies.
Near Virar, 25 MNS workers were arrested for allegedly going on the rampage at a toll collection booth on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway near Virar, the police said.
On Monday, around 200 MNS workers thronged Khanivade toll plaza and started sloganeering and tried to enter the booth but were stopped by the police. As protesters ransacked barricades , booth employees fled with cash that had been collected.
Senior inspector Chandrakant Jadhav of Virar police station said that the arrested protesters would be produced in court on Tuesday.
In Navi Mumbai, four people, who went on the rampage at a toll plaza in Vashi. Around 20 people visited the booth around 1.30pm and smashed windowpanes of counters and damaged computers.
Three people were arrested and another detained. They will be produced in court on Tuesday morning.
In Thane district, nine MNS workers were arrested for attacking three booths. Party president for Thane city, Nilesh Chavan, said that Thane residents have to pay up at the seven toll booths. He demanded that all vehicles with a Thane registration (MH 04) be exempted from paying toll in Thane.
In Pune, mobs came on two-wheelers and damaged six toll collection cabins at Urse toll plaza on Mumbai-Pune expressway, the police said.
Deputy superintendent of police Vinayak Dhakne said that a case has been filed against unidentified persons.
A senior MNS officebearer from Pune, Anil Shidore, said that the agitation is being carried out to seek clarity in toll collection.
In Nashik district, two booths were ransacked on Sunday night and protests were held at four others until Monday evening. Eighteen people have been arrested, said the Nashik police.
Two toll booths — on Mumbai-Agra highway and on Nashik Dindori road — were vandalised, allegedly by MNS workers on Sunday night. The morning after, another booth on Nashik Dindori road was targeted. MNS legislator Vasant Gite was among 15 people rounded up.
Superintendent of police of Nashik district, Praveen Padwal, said that 10 toll plazas in the district were functioning.