The Shiv Sena said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ claim that the law and order situation was under control rings hollow as most culprits of the Kamala Mills compound fire here were still at large.
The BJP ally, a partner in the Fadnavis government, also raised the issue of alleged political pressure on BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to not act against 10-15 illegal pubs and restaurants in the compound after the December 29 blaze in its premises.
Fadnavis, who also holds the home department, has said the law and order situation is “absolutely good” in the state, rocked by caste conflict at Bhima-Koregaon near Pune and subsequent violent protests by Dalit agitators.
“If the chief minister claims to have control over the law and order situation despite the riots after the Bhima- Koregaon incident, then people would like to know why the culprits behind the Kamala Mills fire are still at large,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.
Only if they are arrested can the Shiv Sena accept the claim that things are under control, the Marathi daily said.
The main accused in the fire at 1 Above pub in the Kamala Mills compound that claimed 14 lives are yet to be arrested though several FIRs have been filed.
According to the Sena, the state did take action against some illegal structures at pubs and restaurants across Mumbai after the blaze, but “… insulted the victims by announcing a Rs 1 lakh reward for providing information about the absconding accused”.
“This means the state has asked people (instead of police) to find the accused,” the Sena publication said.
The editorial said names of those who reportedly put pressure on the civic commissioner to spare illegal constructions in the compound should be made public.
“It was political pressure. One must know that the commissioner is appointed by the state government and he/she generally listens to the government,” it said.
The real question, it added, is whether the Kamala Mills owners were among those who put pressure on the commissioner.