Arun Shourie manhandled by RPI activists in Mumbai

Posted August 5, 2000
India Today's headlines
By Anjali Cordeiro

Mumbai, Aug 5: In a shocking incident, Arun Shourie, Minister of state for Planning was attacked by a group of RPI activists during an award function in Mumbai at 1700 Hrs. IST on Saturday. The incident took place at Mumbai's Y. B. Chavan Auditorium when Shourie was to present the Lalit Doshi memorial award and deliver a lecture.

According to an eye-witness, the chaos began as soon as Shourie stood to give his speech titled `Turning India Towards the Future'.

A group of RPI activists in the room stood up and began shouting slogans against the Minister and waved banners.

The balcony of the auditorium was evidently filled with RPI members and there were around thirty others seated in the lower half of the hall. It is still not known how they managed to sneak inside the hall with banners and black flags.

In the confusion, some activists managed to jump on the stage and one managed to grab Shourie by his collars. An organiser who was on the stage, came to Shourie's rescue, but could not do much as he also manhandled. The melee continued for almost ten minutes before the police reacted. Finally the police took most of the RPI members away.

Later, Shourie delivered his speech. He stated that he had warned the police that some untoward incident might take place. But it was evident that they were not well prepared to control the activists.

The entire incident took place in the presence of notable personalities like businessman Anand Mahindra, Maharashtra's Chief Secretary Arun Bongirwar, Mumbai's Sherrif Agustine Pinto, and businessman Adi Godrej.

The RPI was protesting against Shourie's comments on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar made sometime back. It is still not clear which faction of the RPI was responsible for Saturday's fiasco. When contacted an official of the RPI said that his party members had only waved black flags against Shourie but were not responsible for attacking him.

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