Fernandes asks Raj Thackeray to ask forgiveness from victims

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New Delhi, Feb 17 (UNI) The National Democratic Alliance Convenor and senior Lok Sabha MP George Fernandes today asked Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray to seek forgiveness of the taxi drivers and the community he and his followers offended and insulted in the state.

In a moving letter written to the MNS leader, Mr Fernandes who owes his political beginnings to Mumbai and Maharashtra said he would have been happy if the police had arrested you (Thackeray) when he was fighting for the poor and the voiceless as he would have been a gainer. "I feel sad for what you have done in the last one week. I know you want to be a politician but the road you have taken can't make you one", Mr Fernandes said.

Asking Mr Thackeray to make efforts to bring back the people attacked and find out those who tried to rape and made the girl run naked on the streets, Mr Fernandes said the politics of violence and assault on Mumbai taximen and workers from North India particularly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had made known to the country and the world the demands of the MNS.

Mr Fernandes who earned the title 'Giant Killer' after he defeated Congress strongman S K Patil from Mumbai recalled how vicious the campaign was in 1967 when he contested the Lok Sabha seat. Mr Patil stated I had no right to be in Maharashtra and should go back to Karnataka and fight elections. Mr Fernandes responded that Karnataka belonged to India and he was fighting the elections for India.

Not taking the attack on the Taximen's association in Mumbai, Mr Fernandes recalled the commencing days of the association when the drivers had to face lathi charge when they demanded liberation from the greedy money lenders who would be fleecing them dry obtaining signatures or thumb impressions on blank papers. When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi became a dictator, I went underground and the Government made efforts to close this Union office. Two Sikh taximen guarded the office during the entire Emergency. "I organised the Union ... which you and your goons have attacked ... seek forgiveness from all those you have insulted and offended and those who have made to go out of the state. Believe me I wish you well in life," Mr Fernandes wrote UNI MCN LS RS1532

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