Rights panel notice to Maharashtra over violence

February 18th, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Raj Thackeray

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Monday sent a notice to the Maharashtra government over the violence against north Indians in the state that led hundreds of them to flee. The NHRC has directed the state’s chief secretary to submit a report within four weeks.

Thousands of migrant workers, especially people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, fled the state following attacks on them allegedly by workers of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The NHRC has issued notice following media reports that a person was beaten to death by MNS workers in Nashik last week.

“One person, Sanjiv Singh, who had fled Nashik with his family, had alleged that he and his family members were attacked and womenfolk molested by MNS workers,” the panel said in a statement on the basis of a media report.

“The report added that these people were threatened by MNS workers to leave Maharashtra or face the consequences. The report further said that another person, Rehman Bhai, also alleged that MNS activists threatened them. The two people further alleged inaction by the state government against the MNS activists,” it added.

Violence was triggered by MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s tirade earlier this month against people from north India who have settled in Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, and other parts of the state.

The violence began Feb 3 after Thackeray, nephew of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, hit out at north Indians calling them “outsiders”. This led to clashes between MNS workers and with the supporters of Abu Asim Azmi, the state president of Samajwadi Party.

The MNS workers also went on a rampage after Raj Thackeray, was arrested on Feb 13 for inciting hatred among ethnic groups. He was released on bail within hours.

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