No restriction on living, working in any state: Patil

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New Delhi, Mar 4 (UNI) Home Minister Shivraj Patil today assured the Lok Sabha that the Centre would intervene in Maharashtra only if the state government failed to ensure law and order and check the violence against those from North India, particularly Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Responding to members who had forced two adjournments on the issue yesterday, Mr Patil said the Maharashtra government had registered 300 cases and taken action against 1,500 people. Further, ''preventive action'' had been taken against 5,000 people.

''If the Maharashtra government fails in its duty, we will step in,'' he said and clarified that the state administration had reiterated that people from other states could celebrate any festival and there was no restriction on it.

Mr Patil denied reports that the hands of a person from Siwan, Bihar, was chopped off in Pune. No case had been registered in any of the Pune police stations, the state government had clarified.

However, ''We are probing and an indepth probe will be done.'' All statements in the case would be video recorded. Necessary action would be taken if any such incident had taken place, the Minister said.

Under the Constitution, Indian citizens could settle down in any state and no one would be allowed to challenge this in any form, he said.

The Minister, however, did not refer to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which had launched an agitation against North Indians for trying to celebrate 'chhat puna' or its leader Raj Thackeray.

UNI SN Mir KP1325

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