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Elphinstone Stampede Aftermath: Raj Thackeray Leads Rally Against Railway Conditions

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| October 5 , 2017 , 15:45 IST

In the wake of the Elphinstone stampede on September 29 that resulted in the death of 23 people and injuries of nearly 50 others, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has launched a rally demanding for improvement in the existing rail network. Large crowds took to the streets at Marine lines on Thursday morning as locals and MNS supporters protested.   

The very next day after the stampede, Raj Thackeray had threatened to not allow the construction of the proposed bullet train running from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in the city, until the existing rail network was fixed.

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Thackeray slammed the BJP-led central government and state government for their explanation that the stampede took place due to rains.

"They (Railway) say it happened due to the rains... It is not the first time that it rained in Mumbai," said the MNS chief.

"People are dying here, after falling off the trains. Small children have to cross railway tracks on their foot as there are no bridges. Women do not have washrooms at the stations. What is the government doing? Where are all these facilities? Mumbaikars are dying here and our government wants bullet trains. We will not allow any bullet trains here. Give us these facilities first. Spend the money on Mumbaikars," an angry woman protester said at the gathering.

Although the police had not granted permission, the rally took place nonetheless.

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"We had written to the police seeking permission. But we haven't yet been granted permission. We have told the police that we will abide by the laws. This is an outburst of the ordinary Mumbaikar. We are only leading it," said Sandeep Deshpande, an MNS leader.

“The agitation demonstrates how Mumbaikars can come out against the government spontaneously. The government is in shambles. The Elphinstone stampede is an example of the inefficiency of the government. We are not against progress. But we want basic infrastructure for Mumbai," added another prominent MNS leader Shalini Thackeray.