MNS not responsible for Dharrao's death: Raj Thackeray

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Mumbai, Feb 14 (UNI) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has said his organisation was not responsible for the death of Ambadas Dharrao in the Nashik violence yesterday but it was rather the work of anti-social elements, who should be meted out stringent punishment.

A day after his arrest and immediate release on bail, Mr Thackeray issued a press statement, clarifying the MNS stand.

''I have not broken any law but have launched a just agitation for safeguarding the intersts of Maharashtra and Marathi people and, yet, the state government had arrested me by registering unjust offences against me and my supporters under pressure from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar political lobbies,'' he said.

The violence perpetrated following my arrest is a sad happening but it was a spontaneous reaction, Mr Thackeray said in a statement.

The violence was perpetrated not just by the MNS workers but members of the entire Marathi community, Mr Thackeray said in the statement adding that those in government should take note of this fact.

Delhi has always done injustice against Maharashtra and this has been experienced by all leaders like Late Chintamanrao Deshmukh and Balasaheb Thackeray, he said.

Referring to the death of Dharrao, he said the police should probe the matter thoroughly and the guilty should be inflicted the strictest punishment. During sensitive times, some anti-social elements and political rivals do try to take advantage of the situation, Mr Thackeray said adding that every Marathi person was like a part of his family.

He claimed that MNS activists could not have been involved in harming any person, and particularly a Marathi person.

''We will always stand behind Dharrao's family,'' he said.

''Mr Dharrao's death will forever distress me but no one from my organisation is responsible for his death. It is the handiwork of anti-social elements,'' Mr Thackeray has said. Yet, since Dharrao's death has been linked to my arrest, I join my hands and apologise to the family, he added.

Mr Thackeray said he had wanted to hold a press conference before his arrest in order to appeal to the people to maintain peace. But, the police did not allow him to do so, he alleged. His repeated requests, thereafter, were also turned down, he said.

He asserted that MNS will continue its struggle to secure the just rights for Maharashtra but, at the same time, will ensure that no Marathi person is ever harmed, Mr Thackeray said in the statement. ''We are all bound by the Constitution and laws of the country. But, then, we will also not tolerate any attack on our culture and language,'' Mr Thackeray said in the statement.

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