Lalu seeks PM's intervention in defusing Mumbai crisis

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (UNI) Expressing outrage over violence against north Indian settlers in Mumbai, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention in defusing the crisis and demanded stern action against the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) that is spearheading the agitation.

Mr Prasad said he raised the issue at today's cabinet meeting and urged the Prime Minister to initiate measures to check recurrence of such incidents.

''The politics being practised by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is divisive and has to be stoutly resisted,'' he said.

Mr Prasad, who heads the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), said Dr Singh gave him a firm assurance that steps would be taken to bring the situation under control in Mumbai and some other parts of Maharashtra.

''This is an obnoxious politics being practised by certain elements for their political survival and the people of Maharashtra should not be blamed for the violence against north Indian settlers in the western state,'' he said.

Mr Prasad said he had also conveyed his concern to Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is currently in the national capital, and appealed to him to take effective measures against the mischief-makers.

The RJD chief had earlier demanded arrest of Raj Thackeray and de-recognition of his political outfit that is spearheading the agitation. He also drew 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 MNS activists.

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.

Asked to comment on Delhi Lt Governor Tejender Khanna's alleged statement that north Indians were habitual offenders of traffic rules, Mr Prasad said if he (Mr Khanna) had made this statement, it was highly objectionable.

''Those holding high constitutional posts should be careful in making statements,'' he added.

UNI/SKS SK RN1539

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