The Congress on Wednesday evening protested the detention of senior Karnataka Congress leader and Minister D.K. Shivakumar, Maharashtra Congress Deputy Leader in Assembly Naseem Khan, Mumbai Congress leader Milind M. Deora and others by the police.
The Congress leaders were taken into custody outside Hotel Renaissance here, before they could intervene to resolve the political crisis in Karnataka. Ten rebel MLAs of Karnataka's Congress-Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) coalition government are holed up at the Mumbai hotel since they resigned on Saturday.
The Mumbai Police, which said it had imposed prohibitory orders around the hotel premises, whisked them off in waiting vans to a guest house inside the University of Mumbai's Kalina Campus.
State Youth Congress President Satyajeet Tambe said the police was adopting high-handed tactics and even caned the party workers outside the hotel.
"We are waiting outside the university guest house, but nobody is permitted to meet the leaders. Now, we hear Shivakumar may be sent back to Bengaluru in a private flight by the police," Tambe said in a statement.
A delegation of city Congress leaders will call on Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve to lodge a protest against what they termed was "unlawful detention" of the leaders.
Earlier, ex-Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam who was also present outside the hotel, slammed the city police for stopping Shivakumar and others and later detaining them.
"I condemn the Mumbai Police for stopping Shivakumar. This is not the culture of Maharashtra to treat an honourable minister of a state," Nirupam said.
Tagging Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Twitter, he wrote: "Don't behave like this. Allow him to meet his colleagues who have been captured by the BJP in the hotel."
Nirupam's comments came after the police prevented Shivakumar from entering the hotel premises even though he had a suite booked there. The hotel cancelled the booking citing an "emergency".
Undeterred, Shivakumar stood outside the hotel in heavy rain and interacted with the local media.
"I won't go without meeting my friends. They will call me. Their hearts will give in. I am in touch with them already, our hearts are beating for each other," Shivakumar said making an emotional appeal.
Calling the rebels his "brothers" who loved and respected each other, he termed the crisis as "a family problem".
The police action came on a letter written on Tuesday by the rebel MLAs to the Mumbai Police Commissioner pleading for protection from Karnataka leaders like Kumaraswamy, Shivakumar and others.
Shivakumar, however, denied the apprehensions. "There is no question of threatening anyone," he said.
Earlier, addressing the media at the Parliament CPP leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “the democratic edifice of Karnataka has been deliberately dismantled by the ruling regime in order to grab the power in Karnataka. In a deliberate and pre-determined manner, they have engineered defection in the ruling party. So, now a number of MLAs have been under the captivity of the ruling party. They have been flown to Mumbai from Karnataka. They have been lured or intimidated. Either inducement or intimidation are the weapons being deployed by the ruling regime with a single objective of capturing the power in Karnataka by any kind of heinous act whatsoever.”
With IANS inputs