If the Maharashtra government fails, we will step in: Patil

March 4th, 2008 - 3:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Raj Thackeray

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The central government will ensure that the Maharashtra administration takes action against those interfering in law enforcement, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said Tuesday while emphasising every Indian citizen’s right to work in any part of the country. “Whosoever is interfering in law enforcement will be taken action against. If the Maharashtra government fails, we will step in,” Patil assured the Lok Sabha.

Giving a statement on the violence against north Indians in Maharashtra, the home minister reiterated that right to work in any state was a “constitutional” right for the citizens. He added that the Maharashtra government had already taken action against those who were responsible for last month’s incidents.

In February, members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray took to the streets targeting north Indians in Mumbai and elsewhere in the state. One person died and several were injured in the vandalism that went on for several days before the Maharashtra government got the situation under control.

Referring to the MNS threat that people from Bihar would not be allowed to celebrate Chhath puja in Maharashtra, Patil said everybody was free to celebrate any festival wherever they wanted to.

“Various festivals are celebrated in our country. Anybody can do it at the place they want to,” he said.

The home minister admitted that the governments - both at the centre and the state - were “responsible” if anybody had to flee fearing violence. “I do not have the exact number of people who have fled Maharashtra. Even if it was just one person, it should not have happened. We are responsible for it and the country is also responsible.”

The Lok Sabha witnessed repeated adjournments Monday after some MPs, mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, disrupted proceedings demanding an explanation from the home minister on the violence against migrant labourers in Maharashtra.

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