Raj Thackeray: Implement CAA-NRC at earliest, India isn't a dharamshala

Updated: Feb 10, 2020, 07:47 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

MNS chief Raj Thackeray announces a 'stone-for-stone, sword-for-sword' counter policy against those who he says are out to destroy the country that has given them so much

Raj Thackeray addressed a huge gathering of saffron flag-carrying party workers whom he led from Hindu Gymkhana to Azad Maidan on Sunday. Pic/Ashish Raje
Raj Thackeray addressed a huge gathering of saffron flag-carrying party workers whom he led from Hindu Gymkhana to Azad Maidan on Sunday. Pic/Ashish Raje

Days after claiming the saffron title on his late uncle, Bal Thackeray's birth anniversary, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray reiterated that he wanted illegal migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh out, and appealed to the Modi government to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and conduct the National Register of Citizens (NRC) at the earliest. He asked the Muslims why they were protesting without understanding the law, and why they wanted Muslims from neighbouring countries to be given Indian citizenship. He also warned that the Hindus would counter a stone with a stone, and a sword with a sword, meaning that triggering communal violence would be responded to in a befitting manner.

Thackeray was addressing a huge gathering of saffron flag-carrying party workers and sympathisers whom he led from Hindu Gymkhana to Azad Maidan on Sunday afternoon.

"I don't understand why Muslims are showing strength by holding morchas. Not many people understand the CAA and NRC. What is wrong with the CAA? The law came into force in 1955 when the situation was different. Why do they want Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh to be given Indian citizenship? Why will Muslims who are here for generations go out?" he said. He said fears over the NRC were baseless.

MNS workers participated in the morcha in large numbers. Pic/ashish Raje
MNS workers participated in the morcha in large numbers. Pic/ashish Raje

The massive morcha boosted the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) pro-CAA, NRC campaign, but Thackeray steered clear of extending direct support to the party. He said he appreciated the Centre when it took good decisions like revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and appointed the Ram Temple trust and criticised it for bad decisions. "If you criticise the Centre, you are anti-BJP and if you appreciate the Centre, you are pro-BJP. Isn't there something in the middle?" he asked.

'Put CAA, NRC in place'
He said the CAA and NRC must be in place at the earliest because India wasn't a dharamshala and must get stricter in dealing with illegal and dangerous migrants. "Other countries have strict rules about illegal migrants. I warn the Indian government against using the CAA and NRC to divert attention from serious economic issues. If the Centre were to implement the law, it must start sooner," he said.

Thackeray questioned the sympathy for Pakistani and Bangladeshi migrants. "Who engineered the terror attacks? Who sheltered Dawood (Ibrahim)? Let me tell you that the communal riots don't happen in Marathi Muslim localities because they are one of us. Bangaldeshis were involved in the Azad Maidan riots where women police were assaulted. If they can hit the police, they can hit you. And now we have Nigerians who sell drugs. They harass our women and we cannot do anything because we can't enter their localities," he said.
The MNS chief said the police were not given a free hand to deal with illegal migrants. "I know of places where our police can be given a free hand for 48 hours. They will clear the country of illegal migrants and bring down the crime rate to zero."

Warning for Hindus
While giving Marathi and 'Bharatiya' Muslims a clean chit, he appealed to them to alert the police and administration about suspected anti-national activities. And he also had a word of caution for Hindus. "You are Hindus only when the riots happen. Look at the awareness of the people who are conspiring against the country. I know of a place where clerics from outside are involved in planning something serious against the country. You Hindus flash candles every time there is a blast and then wait for another bomb to explode."

He told the Muslims that they should respect the freedom that India has given them. "You have no such freedom elsewhere in the world. And yet you work to destroy the country that has given you so much."

Cousin speaks
Shiv Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray told his ministers, MLAs and senior leaders that the party and he didn't need to prove their Hindutva. He met them when the MNS was gathering strength for the morcha. "The Shiv Sena never changed its flag and I will never give up the bhagva (saffron) till my last breath, " Uddhav said.

He said it was wrong to pursue that the Sena has abandoned Hindutva by going with the Congress and NCP. He said he is a Hindu and he doesn't need to prove his credentials. He said, "Did I change the party flag? It is Balasaheb's Hindutva. We have a policy on one-man one-flag. The entire world knows what our Hindutva stands for."

Workers claim crowd was less

While thousands of people were seen in the march, there were talks among some party workers that the crowd was comparatively less compared to the morcha held by Raj Thackeray in the year 2012 against the Azad Maidan violence. From 12 noon, private buses ferrying MNS party workers started reaching the Hindu Gymkhana at Marine Lines from where the protest was going to start. Buses, bikes and private vehicles with MNS flags were also seen. Many party workers from Nashik, Pune, Navi Mumbai and Thane came for the morcha. There was heavy police bandobast on the route right from Hindu Gymkhana to Azad Maidan. Party workers were also seen with the national flag. They raised slogans such as "Vande Mataram," "Pakistanis go back," "Har Har Mahadev," and "Jai Shreeram".

- Ranjeet Jadhav

4,000 cops ensure Raj's rally is peaceful

The police on Sunday deployed massive security during the long rally organised by MNS Chief Raj Thackeray against illelgal immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Police said the rally started from Hindu Gymkhana, Marine Lines, and went on to Azaad Maidan, and had around 20,000 MNS workers. Thackeray organised this massive rally against illelgal immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh and in support of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). The police, who granted permission to Thackeray, had deployed 4,000 police personnel from Hindu Gymkhana to Azaad Maidan. "Adequate security arrangements were made," said DCP Pranay Ashok, spokesperson, Mumbai Police. Also, special branch officers were deployed to keep tabs on anti-social elements and cops installed temporary metal detectors at both gates of Azad Maidan to scan everyone entering the venue. The cops also cleared the maidan of stones realising they had potential to be used as weapons.

- Faizan Khan

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