Raj warns of fresh attacks on north Indians
Tribune News Service
Mumbai, February 9
More than four days after the Maharashtra government threatened to arrest Raj Thackeray, the leader of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena today warned of fresh attacks on North Indians if they did not behave.
Clearly unapologetic about the incidents of the past few days, when members of the MNS attacked migrants from North India, Thackeray said such incidents were a response to their political mobilisation.
The North Indians, Raj Thackeray alleged, were using their religious festival Chhath Puja “to show their strength and browbeat the Marathi people”.
“I am not against Chhath Puja. But what I oppose is that it is used as a means to show strength,” Thackeray said.
Earlier, while calling the press conference, Raj Thackeray’s men prevented television journalists of English and Hindi channels from covering the event. Reporters of even print media, who were not of Marathi origin, were prevented from entering the press conference venue.
Justifying his decision, Raj Thackeray said the English and the Hindi media were biased against the Marathi people by supporting the North Indians in their coverage. Thackeray reserved his vitriol for the
Hindi channels calling them “bhaiyya” channels, using the popular term to describe all North Indians on the streets of Mumbai.
“We should not be blamed for the last week’s incidents. It is the Samajwadi Party and its city president Abu Asim Azmi, who are responsible.
‘Hum lathi baatenge’. I say we will retaliate by distributing swords to our people,” Raj Thackeray said.
He further warned that the MNS would repeat its attacks on North Indians if required.
Raj Thackeray further reiterated that the entry of outsiders into Mumbai be restricted. “New migrants should not be allowed to enter the city, while those already here must learn to respect the Marathi ‘manoos’ and their culture,” he said.
Earlier today, the Maharashtra Times published an article featuring Raj Thackeray, which further insulted North Indians. Thackeray poked fun at Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘chora ganga kinarewala’ stand and asked him to develop his own state rather than throw his weight around in Maharashtra.
“I am here to protect Marathi culture from the ‘goondaism’ of UP and Bihar,” Thackeray said. He further appealed to the Marathi-speaking people to join him in his struggle.
“If the Prime Minister can rake up the issue of ban on turbans for the Sikhs in France when the French President came to India, if Karunanidhi can take up the issue of problems of Tamils in Malaysia with the Malaysian government, if the Hindi channels in Mumbai spew venom against Maharashtra while supporting the people from UP and Bihar, then how come I am dubbed as a ‘goonda’ when I speak about the self-respect of the state?”
Raj further thanked Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for not putting him behind bars for an incident at his son’s school yesterday.