Raj warns of riots over anti-Marathi remarks

Raj Thackeray warned of riots if Congress and SP leaders continued to make "irresponsible statements" pitting north Indian migrants against Marathis.

Updated: Nov 03, 2011, 20:28 PM IST

Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray Thursday warned of riots if Congress and Samajwadi Party leaders continued to make "irresponsible statements" pitting north Indian migrants against Marathis.

Denouncing what he said was "politics played in the name of north Indians by organising festivals like Chhat Puja", Thackeray said statements of Congress leaders Kripashankar Singh and Sanjay Nirupam and Samajwadi Party state chief Abu Asim Azmi had the potential to incite Marathis.

Raj Thackeray`s sharp reaction followed statements of Kripashankar Singh and Azmi at a Chhat Puja two days ago that "Mumbai does not belong to anybody`s father" but to all who live and work here.

"I would like to inform Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister R.R. Patil that if the Marathis resort to violence, then we should not be blamed," he told reporters.

He asked them to intervene before the situation goes out of control.

The MNS chief`s remarks came hours after Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray asserted in party mouthpiece Saamna that Mumbai would always belong to the Marathis and not "outsiders".

Bal Thackeray challenged Kripashankar Singh, Azmi and Nirupam to prove who was "the father of Mumbai".

Raj Thackeray also hit out at Hindi television channels and said the MNS had started monitoring their content. "If we find their coverage to be one sided or biased, we shall not allow them to beam here."

Raj Thackeray also used the opportunity to take potshots at his estranged cousin and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray.

"It was Uddhav who encouraged Nirupam to conduct Chhat Puja in Mumbai and the same Uddhav used to visit (Kripashankar) Singh`s residence during Ganeshotsav. Look at the consequences," Raj Thackeray said.

He referred to clashes between north Indians and Marathis around two-and-half years ago in some parts of the state.

"What is the government doing about the inflammatory statements of Azmi, (Kripashankar) Singh and Nirupam," he asked.