Pol parties condemn violence in Mah, call on state gov for action

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (UNI) Various political parties today condemned the attacks against North Indians in Mumbai by activists of Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNs) and urged the congress-led state government to act firmly to curb such activities.

MNS activists had gone on a rampage in the metropolis and elsewhere in the state yesterday in the wake of the party president's remarks against the North Indian commuity in general and Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan in particular. Mobs of MNS workers assaulted a migrant taxi driver at Dadar in Central Mumbai last evening, vandalised cinema theatres in Thane and Nashik where Bhojpuri films were being screened as well as clash with activists of Samajwadi Party in Dadar.

Condemning the attacks, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) attributed it to the ''result of the propaganda and statements directed against Hindi-speaking people living in Mumbai by a parochial political outfit.'' The State Government and the administration should take firm steps against chauvinist elements and protect the life and property of all citizens living in the State along with Mumbai, a press statement issued by the party Polit Bureau said.

In its reaction, the BJP also strongly condemed the attacks and termed it an ''attempt for garnering petty political mileage, designed to destroy social harmony''.

Urging the Maharashtra government to take stern measures to curb such activities, BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad, without taking the name of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena headed by Raj Thackeray, said every Indian had a right to travel and work in any part of the country and nobody could object to it.

Denouncing the ''vandalism'' by MNS activists, the Congress said such incidents were absolutely ''divisive stunts'' which exposed lack of any concerete political programme.

''Vandalism and violation of law and order by the activists of the Navnirman Sena, with the support of the Shiv Sena, is condemnable and totally unjustifiable,'' AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi told mediapersons, while pointing out that ''their stand against the North Indian communities in general and Biharis in particular is against the very concept of India.'' He said the violence in Mumbai against the Hindi-speaking people was ''merely to create sensationalism and media attention.'' ''This type of political stunt is enacted to get short term popularity.

Long term popularity requires a concrete political programme, instead of divisive politics." AICC Secretary and Lok Sabha member from North-West Mumbai Priya Dutt appealed to people not to think of regional biases and create divide in the country.

Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav also condemned the violence against North Indians and asked the state administration to act firmly to prevent any future violence.

Charging the state administration with complicity in the violence, he said it was ''surprising'' that police stood by inactively while MNS hoodlums attacked North Indian taxi drivers, roadside vendors and passers by.

''A mere statement by the Chief Minister will not wash the obvious complicity of his administration and police in the violence on the North Indians. His administration should act and prevent any future violence,'' he said, in a statement here.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati also condemned the attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra and urged the Centre to intervene in the matter to ensure proper security and safety to persons targeted by MNS.

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