Kolkata/Patna/New Delhi, Mar 8 : Protests continue to rock the nation over the alleged discriminatory treatment of north Indians in Maharashtra. Trinamool Congress activists in West Bengal hit the streets of Kolkata over what they called the partisan attitude of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in Mumbai.
Protesters also burnt an effigy of MNS chief Raj Thackeray. 'We strongly condemn what is happening in Maharastra,' said Madan Mitra, the president of the Trinamool Youth Congress. In Bihar, opposition activists organised protest marches in Patna to highlight the issue. Activists expressed anger over actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha's support for Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray.
'Shatrughan Sinha has called Bal Thackeray and by doing this, he has insulted the people of Bihar. We are protesting against it," said D.Khurshid Alam, the president of the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Bollywood actor Manoj Bajpai said: "I have come to know that my statement has been taken in the context of state and job opportunities, which is wrong.
Fearing controversy, I always restrained from making any comment because in answering a question related to regionalism, one tends to become a part of it. I am born in Bihar and I am proud of it and I am equally proud of being a Marathi' Bajpai, told reporters in Delhi. On March 5, Bal Thackeray described Biharis as an 'unwanted lot' in all parts of the country, which prompted Bihar and UP MPs to initiate privilege a motion against him in Parliament.
Less than 50 percent of Mumbai's 17 million residents are Maharashtrians.The MNS says it wants more jobs for what it calls the "sons of the soil" and greater respect from Mumbaikers whose roots lie elsewhere. The party said the recent violence was not ordered by the party, but was a spontaneous outburst of injured Maharashtrian pride.
Raj Thackeray formed the MNS in 2005 after splitting from Shiv Sena, which has recently moderated its earlier anti-immigrant stance.