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Raj targets north Indians again


Mumbai : Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray Saturday renewed his campaign against north Indian migrants as well as film star Amitabh Bachchan saying his supporters will not allow them to destroy “the Maharashtrian culture”.

“If the government wants to arrest me let them do so, but only Maharashtra Day will be celebrated in Maharashtra,” said Thackeray addressing a mammoth rally at the Shivaji Park in central Mumbai.

The estranged nephew of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray justified ridiculing Bachchan’s decision to promote Uttar Pradesh. “Since he has lived and flourished in Maharashtra, why can’t he promote this state?” he said.

He also questioned the move to construct a girls school in Uttar Pradesh named after Bachchan’s daughter-in-law and film star Aishwarya Rai.

Thackeray did not spare Bachchan’s wife Jaya for her comments at a press conference in which she had said the only Thackeray whom she knew was Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. He also mocked Railway Minister Lalu Prasad.

In January the MNS cheif had criticised the north Indians, especially people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar living on Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashta, on various issues, including performing Chhath Puja, a festival especially popular in Bihar.

His controversial remarks sparked off violence in different parts of Maharashtra between MNS activists and north Indians. MNS activists had barged into a cinema house exhibiting a Bhojpuri movie and damaged taxis sporting Samajwadi Party flags. One man was killed in the violence.