Deshmukh warns of action against Raj Thackeray (Lead)

May 5th, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Raj Thackeray

Mumbai, May 5 (IANS) Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh Monday said the state government will not dither in initiating strict action against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray if he was found to have made objectionable statements at a rally here last Saturday. In a statement condemning Raj Thackeray’s anti-north Indian tirade, Deshmukh said Mumbai Police were analysing the transcripts of the speech.

Reiterating his stand that people from all parts of India have a right to live and work in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra, the chief minister said his government will not tolerate any attempt to create fear and insecurity.

“We shall not hesitate from initiating strictest action against such persons or organisations and the people from other parts of the country settled here would get full state support and protection,” he asserted.

Mumbai Police have already sent the transcripts of the speech to its legal department for analysing its contents.

“We are following the due process of law. The speech transcripts shall be analysed by the legal department and if anything objectionable is found, we shall proceed in the matter according to the law,” Joint Police Commissioner (Law & Order) K.L. Prasad told IANS Monday.

He, however, declined to specify a time frame within which police would initiate any action.

In his Shivaji Park rally Saturday night, Raj Thackeray, the estranged nephew of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, had launched a fresh verbal offensive against north Indian migrants to Maharashtra and had singled out some prominent individuals.

Among other things, he called for celebrating only Maharashtra Day (the state’s foundation day, May 1) in the state and said no other celebrations, including Uttar Pradesh Day or Chhath Puja, should be allowed.

During his 75-minute speech, he even challenged the state government to arrest him for making this statement.

Raj Thackeray’s outburst has attracted severe criticism from several political parties around the country.

In February, the MNS had launched an anti-migrant campaign all over Maharashtra. It had led to sporadic incidents of violence in Mumbai and some other parts of the state and an exodus of north Indian migrant labour from different parts of the state.

He was later arrested and released on bail, while Mumbai Police had slapped a gag order on him against making provocative speeches. The Saturday rally was his first speech on a public platform after the gag order expired.

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