The Shiv Sena on Thursday took on AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi for his refusal to chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and sought revocation of citizenship and voting rights of those who refuse to chant the slogan even as authorities in Uttar Pradesh denied permission to him to hold two events.
As the row over Owaisi's recent remark in Latur escalated, the Sena also sought to know from ally BJP leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis how Owaisi was allowed to leave the state after "insulting" the country.
In a vitriolic editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana', the Sena said, "Hardik Patel had by mistake disrespected the national flag and he was tried for sedition and is still in jail. Has Asaduddin Owaisi not committed treason as well by insulting mother India? The citizenship and voting rights of all those who do not chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' should be revoked."
"There is a BJP Chief Minister in the state. He has to answer how was Owaisi allowed to leave Latur after insulting the country," it said.
The Muslim community has remained "backward" due to the ideas propagated by people like Owaisi, the Sena said hitting out at the AIMIM leader.
However, MPCC spokesman Al-Nasser Zakaria alleged that the Sena is only indulging in politics of hypocrisy. "They (the Sena) should understand that they will be taken seriously, even by their own ally (BJP) after they come clean themselves. Merely chanting slogans won't make them nationalists," Zakaria said.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said everybody may not agree with the views of the RSS and BJP. "The RSS and the BJP are portraying 'Bharat Mata' as a 'devi' (goddess) and are expecting all to chant slogans.
Everybody may not want to subscribe to this. But, nobody would mind praising mother India," he said. "They should first clear their stand on whom do they actually want all Indians to praise and then go around giving certificates of patriotism to others," he added.
In Uttar Pradesh, Owaisi's programme in Lucknow today was cancelled after he was denied permission by the district administration to hold a meeting on grounds of "law and order situation" in the state.
An angry AIMIM slammed the SP government's decision to deny permission, saying it was 'afraid' of Owaisi it had "done nothing" for the minorities.
Owaisi was denied permission by the district administration to hold a meeting in Lucknow on grounds of "law and order situation" in the state, Additional District Magistrate (west) JS Dubey said in his order.
"He is, however, free to visit Lucknow," it stated. During his proposed two-day visit to the state, Owaisi was to visit Azamgarh in connection with a programme also but that too has been cancelled.
"Owaisi's programme has been cancelled after the district administration denied permission. As he cannot hold roadshow, address public meeting and cannot attend gathering of more than 30 persons, he has cancelled his visit," AIMIM state president Shaukat Ali told PTI. Alleging that the SP government was afraid of Owaisi, Ali said, "The present SP government did nothing for the minority community in its four-year regime. It is afraid of Owaisi."
Meanwhile, BJP's women activists today staged a protest against AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan who was suspended from Maharashtra Legislative Assembly yesterday for refusing to say 'Bharat Mata ki jai'.
The demonstration was held near railway station in Byculla in South Mumbai which is represented by Pathan in Assembly. Pathan was suspended for remainder of the ongoing Budget session after the House adopted a unanimous resolution to this effect.