Court criticises Maharashtra government on MNS threats (Lead)

August 28th, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 28 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Wednesday criticised the Maharashtra government for its failure in tackling the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists’s threats to business establishments if they did not put up Marathi signboards.A division bench of Justice J.N. Patel and Justice K.K. Tated, hearing a petition filed by Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association (FRTWA) secretary Viren Shah, also directed the state government to compensate those shopkeepers who have been targeted by the MNS for not putting up their signboards in Marathi.

The FRTWA filed the petition Thursday seeking the court’s directions to initiate action against MNS chief Raj Thackeray and his party activists for circulating a threatening letter to business establishments, ordering them to display Marathi signboards.

The MNS warned that it would “teach them a lesson in our own way” if the shopkeepers failed to do so, the petition pointed out.

The court also asked the state government to provide details of the preventive action it has taken in response to the MNS deadline of Aug 28 to put up signboards in Marathi.

Earlier in the day, the court directed the state government to make a statement by 3 p.m., on the question of law and order in Mumbai in the wake of the MNS threats to the shopkeepers.

While the MNS warned of action against the errant shopkeepers, the state government had also warned that anybody taking the law into their hands would be dealt with sternly.

Two days ago, MNS activists had disrupted an FRTWA meeting at which filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and criminal lawyer Majeed Memon spoke. Party workers also damaged several shops in Mumbai and Thane which had not displayed Marathi signboards.

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