Delhi cheers Thackeray arrest but fears backlash

October 21st, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Raj ThackerayNew Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) Many in the national capital cheered the arrest of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray Tuesday, though there were fears his “thugs” would let loose a reign of terror against innocent people in Maharashtra from outside the state.While many people in Delhi, mostly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, wondered why a person who believes in “divisive” politics was allowed to roam free and create rift in a democratic country like India, many said what he was doing was no less than terrorism.

Thackeray, whose supporters Sunday attacked non-Maharashtrians appearing for a railway recruitment examination, was arrested from Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri town early Tuesday.

An angry Zia-ur-Rehman, 29, who is in Delhi but is based in Mumbai, blamed the Congress, which is in power in Maharashtra in coalition with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), equally for the rising clout of MNS.

“It’s all politically motivated. The Congress is also responsible for all that is being done by MNS in Maharashtra. It is said that no one is above law then why was he allowed to spit venom for all these days?” said Rehman, who works in Mumbai.

Rehman, who is from Siwan in Bihar, said: “What Raj Thackeray has been doing is no less then terrorism. It’s terrorism in broad daylight and that too in front of police and administration. Although he has been arrested, people from north India are afraid of its repercussions.”

This is the second time in eight months that Thackeray has been arrested for his tirade against north Indians migrants in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra.

Pradeep Kumar, 30, a research scholar with the Hindi department of the Jawaharlal Nehru University here, said it was political goondagardi (political vandalism).

“Thackeray has been making a mockery of democracy. Such activities will weaken the faith of people in our democracy. Playing divisive politics and use of violent measures to pursue your political goals is against the spirit of our constitution.”

Paul Soren, 30, a research fellow in the Observer Research Foundation, said such activities are dangerous for the democratic spirit of the country.

“It can give impetus to the feelings of regionalism in other parts of the country as well. Thackeray should have been arrested earlier and not only him but any one involved in unlawful activities should be brought to books,” he added.

Ram Kumar, an auto-rickshaw driver from Uttar Pradesh, described Thackeray and his followers as “goons”.

“What’s the harm in working in a place and earning a living? I have been working in Delhi for a decade now and earning my bread and butter. Is there anything wrong with that?

Asked Dalip Singh, a sales executive originally from Lucknow and living in Delhi for 15 years: “Why can’t they do anything for development instead of beating up innocent people? No one can dictate where one should work. It is a democratic right of every citizen. No one can snatch that.”

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