Mumbai: Workers of the Congress party and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) clashed at Dadar today morning over the issue of hawkers' eviction, police said. The clash broke out after the MNS workers disrupted the Feriwala Samman Morcha (Hawkers' Felicitation March) organised by the city unit of the Congress in support of the hawkers, police said.
The workers of the Raj Thackeray-led party also raised slogans against Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam.
"Police swung into action and arrested 15 MNS members and eight Congress workers," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 5) Rajiv Jain said. He said a case has been filed under the Maharashtra Police Act against the workers of both the parties.
Another senior official said mild force was used by police personnel to keep the situation under control. Shopkeepers and licenced hawkers chose to keep their shops shut during this period.
"Congress party leaders and workers, mainly Maharashtrians, had organised this morcha to felicitate the Marathi hawkers. But that, too, was disrupted by the MNS. I blame the local police for the entire drama," Sanjay Nirupam said.
"My only aim is to implement the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, which essentially gives rights to the street hawkers as well as licences. I hope this issue comes to the forefront," he added.
The MNS has adopted an aggressive stance against hawkers occupying railway station premises and has been evicting illegal hawkers, especially after the Elphinstone railway bridge stampede.
However, the Congress has come out in support of the vendors.