Mumbai, March 30 (IANS) Four Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists were arrested Sunday when they protested the closure of the Bharatmata Talkies - the metropolis' only theatre showing exclusively Marathi films.
The police dragged and then lifted MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar - who is technically a Shiv Sen legislator - to dump him into a lorry parked nearby when he engaged in a heated argument with them and tried to resist the arrest.
MNS workers joined by many people in Lalbaug-Parel staged the protest in defiance of the orders banning assembly of four or more people clamped there.
Nandgaonkar told mediapersons after his release on bail from the Matunga police station later that the police refused permission for the protest apparently because of Friday night's incident at Worli junction. Some miscreants 'who had nothing to do with MNS' Friday night damaged four taxies belonging to north Indian persons.
Bharatmata Talkies is part of a closed textile mill complex and is waiting to be pulled down as a builder who earlier bought the land from the National Textile Corporation (NTC) proposes to construct a mall there.
With the land changing hands and the plans now public for construction of a mall, Marathi film buffs and residents of the area demanded that a theatre that would screen only Marathi films must be a part of the proposed project.
The agitators including MNS workers claim their demand was conceded, but they suspect the builder now wanted to go back on the promise.
Former employees of the closed textile mill - one of the several mills in the area that were shut down in the 1960s and 1970s - staged protest demonstrations at the same spot under the banner of the Girni Kamgar Hakka Sangharsh Samiti last week, demanding a housing complex for them in the area.
A firebrand leader of the Shiv Sena-affiliated Kamgar Sena, Nangaonkar is technically a Shiv Sena legislator though his proximity with MNS chief Raj Thackeray is well known.