Shiv Sainiks seek Raj Thackeray's arrest; protest in Delhi

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (UNI) The Delhi unit of the Shiv Sena today demanded immediate arrest of Maharashtra Nav Nirman chief Raj Thackeray for his reported statement against Biharis and the 'Chhath' festival.

Shiv Sena activists, led by party's North India chief and in-charge Bihar affairs Jai Bhagwan Goyal, handed over a memorandum to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, seeking immediate arrest of Mr Raj Thackeray for describing Bihar's most popular religious festival 'Chhath' as a ''drama''.

Addressing a function in Mumbai a few days ago, the Maharashtra Nav Nirman chief had also demanded that those from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh speak Marathi and respect Marathi culture.

The Shiv Sena activists also staged a protest demonstration against Mr Raj Thackeray at Jantar Mantar here.

Addressing the protestors, Mr Goyal described Mr Raj Thackeray's utterances against 'Chhath' as ''unfortunate'' which had hurt the ''religious sensibilities'' of the Biharis.

''He deserves severe punishment for this unforgivable and unpardonable sin. The government should take immediate legal action by arresting him,'' he added.

Mr Goyal warned Mr Raj Thackeray of ''serious consequences'' if he attempted to divide the country on regional or religion basis.

''It will be extremely unfortunate for the future of the nation if the government succumbs to any pressure and does not arrest him (Mr Raj Thackeray),'' he said.

UNI AG RR AS1913

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