Raj Thackeray appeals to supporters to remain calm


Mumbai : Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray appealed his supporters to maintain peace and calm Thursday evening if the Maharashtra government initiated steps to ensure Marathi signboards for all shops in this city.

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Around that time, some MNS activists were on a rampage and destroyed English signboards of several establishments in parts of Navi Mumbai, including those of Vodafone, Axis Bank and Crosscafe, according to the police.

Thackeray was addressing mediapersons at his party headquarters, ‘Rajgad’, after the outcome of the proceedings of the Bombay High Court that lashed out at the state government on the issue of MNS threats.

He pointed out that although Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh ordered the police to take action against those indulging in violence, the fact was that his party had no desire to take the law in its hands.

“All we want is the implementation of the 1961 law by the state government and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM),” he claimed.

He noted that in the past few days, many business establishments have already changed their signboards. At the same time, some others have requested that they have already placed orders to get new Marathi signboards prepared, which would take some time.

Thackeray explained that in his July 14 letter to the trade and business community here, he had given a month’s deadline to comply with the requirements.

However, on July 28, even the MCGM issued its own circular with a deadline for Aug 28, following which MNS too extended its ultimatum till the same day, he said.

“The deadline has ended, now it is up to the MCGM to act in the matter. We do not wish to take to the streets,” Thackeray said.

The MNS chief also demanded action against Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association (FRTWA) secretary Viren Shah, who has challenged the MCGM’s notice in the high court.

“On the issue of taking action against my partymen, the state is aware of all the laws. Now, I want to see what action is taken against Viren Shah for dragging the state to court. If not, then we shall deal with it in our own way,” he declared.

Thackeray also spoke by phone to the municipal commissioners in Thane and Pune and urged them to implement the rule for Marathi signboards in their cities.