The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is determined to take out its proposed procession Tuesday even if Mumbai police refuse permission, the party's president said here Monday.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray said even with just a day left for the procession, the party is yet to receive official permission.
"Now it doesn't matter. Whatever happens, we shall take out the procession," Thackeray declared at a media conference Monday evening.
The MNS hopes to attract over one lakh people for the procession, including party activists from all over Maharashtra, Mumbaikars and families of policemen who were injured after a 25,000-strong procession by Muslim organisations turned violent Aug 11. Two people were killed in the violence that also targeted police and TV news channel vans.
The MNS procession will condemn the violent incident and demand resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil and Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik.
Thackeray demanded to know how permission was granted for the Aug 11 procession and rally by Muslim groups at Azad Maidan.
"Authorities had prior information that there could be trouble, but yet they permitted them to take out such a huge procession. In contrast, we shall only gather at Girgaum Chowpatty and then take out a peaceful procession to Azad Maidan," he said.
Thackeray was reacting to a police notice served on the party imposing restrictions on holding the rally and warning that the MNS would be held responsible for any untoward incident.
Thackeray said he had already informed his party activists to remain calm and vigilant to ensure that outside elements did not take advantage of the MNS procession.
Wiser after the Aug 11 experience, Mumbai police have made elaborate arrangements to handle the MNS procession Tuesday afternoon.
Over 12,000 policemen, supervised by three additional police commissioners, will fan out on the 5-km long procession route in south Mumbai, besides take other precautions like road blocks, traffic diversions. Other security forces will be on alert.