Mumbai: In a shocking incident, Abhishek Ghosalkar, a leader of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena (UBT) party, was shot dead by a rival political activist in Dahisar on Thursday afternoon. The assailant, identified as Maurice Noronha, then killed himself with the same weapon. The gruesome act was captured on a live Facebook video that has since gone viral.
Ghosalkar, who was the son of former MLA and Thackeray faction leader Vinod Ghosalkar, was rushed to Karuna Hospital with bullet injuries but succumbed to his wounds during treatment. He had served as a corporator in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and was also a director of the Mumbai Bank. He was known for his work in resolving the issues of the citizens and was considered close to Aditya Thackeray, the son of Uddhav Thackeray and the Minister of Tourism and Environment in the state government.
Noronha, who reportedly ran a volunteer organization in the Borivali area, was a self-styled leader in the local political circles. He had some dispute with Ghosalkar over some land and money matters, but the two had settled their differences recently. Noronha had invited Ghosalkar to his office for an event to celebrate their reconciliation, which he was streaming live on his Facebook page. However, in a sudden turn of events, he pulled out a gun and shot Ghosalkar at point-blank range, before shooting himself in the head.
The shocking incident triggered a wave of violence and outrage in the area, as Ghosalkar’s supporters and party workers attacked and vandalized Noronha’s office and other properties. They also blocked the roads and burned tyres, demanding justice for their leader. A large number of police forces have been deployed in the area to control the situation and prevent any further escalation.
The incident has also sparked a political storm in the state, as various parties and leaders have condemned the murder and blamed each other for the law and order breakdown. Aditya Thackeray, who expressed surprise and grief over the incident, said that Ghosalkar had recently met him at Matoshree, the residence of Uddhav Thackeray. He criticized the current situation and stressed the need to deal with hooliganism from all sides.
Sanjay Raut, the leader of the Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena, which is in opposition to the Uddhav Thackeray faction, made a controversial post on Twitter after the incident, alleging that Noronha had met the Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis at Varsha Bungalow four days ago. He claimed that Noronha was invited to join the Shinde Sena, a new outfit formed by Raut and his supporters. He accused Fadnavis of being a complete failure as the Home Minister and demanded his resignation.
Anand Dubey, the spokesperson of the Congress party, which is in alliance with the Uddhav Thackeray faction, also slammed the Fadnavis government and said that it had failed to maintain peace and security in the state. He said that the incident was an attempt to create an atmosphere of anarchy in Maharashtra and questioned the safety of the public representatives and the general public. He asked if the government was creating an atmosphere of fear and targeting the opposition. He said that Raut’s statement showed that the government was nurturing goons and demanded an answer from the authorities.