Lalu demands Raj Thackeray's arrest, de-recognition of his party

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New Delhi, Feb 5 (UNI) Expressing outrage over violence against North Indians in Mumbai, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today demanded the arrest of Raj Thackeray, chief of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), and de-recognition of his political outfit that is spearheading the agitation.

Mr Prasad held telephonic talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil and requested them to initiate effective measures to check recurrence of such incidents even as violence against North Indians in the western metropolis escalated.

''The politics being practised by the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is divisive and has to be stoutly resisted,'' Mr Prasad said.

Mr Prasad also drew their attention to a series of incidents -- throwing of bottles on mega star Amitabh Bachchan's house, attack on Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam's office in Andheri and thrashing of some non-Maharashtrian taxi drivers in Dadar -- in support of his demand for launching effective measures against the mischief-makers.

Today's attack on Mr Nirupam's office was triggered by his decision to stage a ''dharna'' outside the house of MNS chief Raj Thackeray later in the day.

Mr Prasad, who heads the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), said Mr Raj Thackeray, at whose behest MNS activists have let loose violence against North Indians in Mumbai, should be arrested and his outfit de-recognised for his 'unlawful and unconstitutional activities'.

The Railway Minister said he had earlier talked to Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and expressed concern over the incidents.

Mr Prasad said he had also talked to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) chief and asked him to be fully alert for any eventuality.

Emphasising that all Indians have the right to earn their livelihoods in any part of the country, he said the current spell of violence against North Indians Mumbai was reprehensible and had to be resisted effectively.

''This is a case of localisation in the era of globalisation, and is totally unacceptable,'' he said.

The RJD chief said it was a sinister politics being practised by the MNS and must be stopped forthwith.

Dr Singh and Mr Patil reportedly assured Mr Prasad that all-out efforts would be made to check the violence in Mumbai and bring the situation under control.

UNI/SKS RSA VC1855

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