Sena flays demand of making Hindi Mumbai's official language

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Mumbai, Feb 21 (UNI) Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray today said cases should be registered against Congress leaders who have demanded that Hindi should be made Mumbai's official language and asked to put them behind bars.

In an hard-hitting editorial in the party's mouthpiece, ''Saamna'', he said ''You come to Maharashtra and insult Marathi? Learn Marathi.'' The editorial noted that in other states, it was mandatory to learn the language of the region.

Mumbai is Maharashtra's capital and 105 Marathi people have sacrificed their lives for it. Under such circumstances, it is unthinkable that the language in Mumbai -- the city for which the Marathi man has shed his blood -- should be Hindi.

The Karunanidhi government in Tamil Nadu, through a government circular, made it mandatory that Tamil be taught in all schools, the editorial pointed out. The English-medium schools and other elite schools, too, have to obey this mandate, the editorial noted.

Coming down heavily on Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, the editorial asked him not to politicise the issue of celebrating the ''Chhat Puja'' in the state.

''Mr Prasad is welcome to Mumbai to perform the 'puja' but he should not indulge in politics over the issue,'' the editorial warned.

''It would be better if Mr Prasad hosts his 'puja' on Tamil Nadu's Marina beach,'' the editorial suggested.

Lambasting Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, it said, ''Mumbai feeds the entire nation but its own as well as Maharashtra's pockets are empty.'' The organ criticised the Chief Minister's statement that ''anyone can come to Mumbai and the law cannot prevent it.

''Well, if it is not possible to stop people from coming to Mumbai, then at least do not drop down on your knees to welcome them,'' the editorial said.

UNI MAZ VK KD KN1842

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