Mumbai: Accusing the Congress of trying to impart a communal hue to the Maharashtra Sadan episode, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday questioned "why a non-issue was being highlighted so much when other serious issues were being ignored".
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. File pic
In a sharp editorial in the party mouthpiece 'Saamana'on Thursday, Thackeray (who is the editor of the daily newspaper) pointed out that a Muslim school teacher raped a girl in Bangalore during the ongoing holy month of Ramadan. In Afghanistan, a Muslim cleric raped a 10-year-old girl inside the mosque premises during the same month, he said.
"The politicians and media do not seem to have noticed all this. Nobody in the media or parliament has made a hue and cry about all this. Rape is okay for them, but not roti," Thackeray said sarcastically. Discussing the state of the Maharashtra Sadan in the national capital, he said that the conditions there were worse than a cowshed (gaushala), and cultural artistes and state MPs had no place there. "It was mired in a controversy of corruption which the BJP MP from Mumbai, Kirit Somaiya, exposed. Our aim was to highlight the prevailing poor conditions in Maharashtra Sadan, not to hurt anyone's religious sentiments," he pointed out.
Referring to the July 17 episode in which party's Thane MP and former Thane mayor Rajan Vichare allegedly attempted to force-feed a roti to Sadan staffer Ashraf Zubair observing a Ramadan fast, Thackeray contended that nobody knew he was a Muslim, nor was it written on his face. "A systematic communal canard is being spread from New Delhi to Mumbai that the Shiv Sena MPs tried to break the Ramadan fast ('roza') of that employee. We may have a Hindutva agenda, but we never play with the religious sentiments of any community," he reiterated.
Thackeray made it clear that the Shiv Sena never interferes with anybody's religious beliefs, but cautioned the Congress and others against making attempts to politicise the sensitive issue. "Then...they must remember, they will have to contend with us... (Muqabla humse hai). Tomorrow, we shall come to power in Maharashtra, they must not forget this," he warned.
Thackeray also demanded dismissal of Resident Commissioner of New Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, Bipin Malik, with immediate effect for allegedly providing poor quality services and food to the state's MPs.
"He (Malik) should be sacked from his present post," Uddhav said to a query from reporters here on the incident at New Maharashtra Sadan.