Mumbai Diary: Food, rallies and a rose

Last Updated: Thu, Aug 23, 2012 12:00 hrs

Free food for protesters?

When Raj Thackeray announced that a protest rally would be organised from Girgaum Chowpatty to Azad Maidan on Tuesday, many food stall owners at the famous Chowpatty were smacking their lips at the prospects of doing good business.

And as expected the crowds did turn up, in thousands. In fact, the crowds started pouring in from the previous night. Over 40,000 people had assembled at Chowpatty by 11 am on Tuesday, and those were 40,000 hungry mouths.

Many of the MNS supporters thronged to the food stalls at Chowpatty and enjoyed the delicacies to their heart’s content. However, when it came time to foot the bill, none was willing to pay up. The stall owners had no option but to bear the losses.

A stall owner, on condition of anonymity said, “These people beat up north Indians and tried to throw us out of the city. Now, if we ask them for money for the food, they could vandalise our stalls.”

10-minute drive turns to 2-hour wait

In a city that has absolutely no space left to walk or drive, a protest rally can cripple the buzzing metropolis in a matter of minutes. The MNS rally that commenced from Girgaum Chowpatty is at one end of the famous Queen’s necklace on Marine Drive. With over 40,000 people walking on Marine Drive, no cars were able to move an inch.

If a driver tried to honk or plead for the right of way, he was immediately silenced with a dozen hits and thumps on the car bonnet and the threat of a smashed windscreen. After all the protesters on the street are ‘experts’ at smashing windscreens and toppling cars at the blink of an eye.

Motorists were left with no choice but to sit in their cars and wait for a couple hours, till the protesters cleared the way.

Rs 5 lakh reward for info on vandals

With almost every political party seeking mileage from the August 11 riot, an independent Rajya Sabha MP has decided to jump on to the bandwagon now.

MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for any information that leads to the arrest of the vandals that desecrated the Amar Jawan memorial at Azad Maidan on August 11.

The Amar Jawan memorial was established to honour the sacrifice of sepoy Sayyed Hussain and Sepoy Mangal Gadiya, who laid down their lives during the 1857 sepoy mutiny.

Cop gives Raj a yellow rose

Police Naik Pramod Tawde dressed in his khaki uniform jumped on to the stage and presented MNS chief Raj Thackeray with a yellow rose. Tawde went on to the stage to congratulate Raj and also to thank him for standing up for the police force. The overexcited constable could not control his emotions and claimed that he was grateful to Raj for having brought up this issue.

Tawde recollected that he was attacked by CISF jawans in August 2010, and has been fighting a legal battle to bring the jawans to book. However, he claims that his superiors have not been supportive and have abandoned him. When he saw Raj speak about the violence against policemen, he got emotional and went forward to thank the MNS chief.

Tawde stands to be suspended for his ‘rosy’ act of defiance.

More from the author 

Raj Thackeray gets his message across

More from Sify: