New Delhi, Nov 3 (UNI) Several eminent Maharashtrians, including Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Anil Tipnis, economists and scholars Vijay Kelkar and Anuradha Kunte and journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, today came out strongly against the attacks on north Indians in their state, and demanded firm action by the Government to curb the ''regional chauvinism before it became a threat to the unity of the country''.
''These illegal and unconstitutional actions are an affront to our heritage and the traditions of tolerance that Marathi saint-poets, social reformers and intellectuals have cultivated over many centuries,'' they said in a statement here.
The other signatories to the statement were Planning Commission Member Bhalchandra Mungekar, lawyer Harish Salve, TV journalist Rajdeep Sardesai Air Marshal(Retd.) Satish Inamdar, diplomat Sudhir Devare, Tasnim Mehta and Suresh Tendulkar.
Underlining that they had lived and worked in different parts of India and the world without let or hindrance, they said, ''We are appalled and anguished by the recent attacks on North Indians in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra.'' ''The perpetrators of violence have defied the rule of law and challenged the fundamental right of our citizens to travel, study, reside or earn a livelihood anywhere in India. What is more, their cause - the interest of the 'Marathi manoos' smacks of regional chauvinism,'' they said.
Admitting that Maharashtrian youth, like youth all over India, had legitimate aspirations to acquire education, develop skills and successfully compete in the market place to get better jobs and higher incomes, they said these legitimate aspirations could be met only by a dynamic and united India.
However, a failure to check and punish the chauvinist forces would be detrimental to the vital interests of Maharashtra, and sooner than later, this failure was bound to subvert the unity of India for which scores of Maharashtrians, alongside their compatriots from all parts, had made the supreme sacrifice of laying down their lives.
''We urge our fellow Maharashtrians to reject out of hand the regional chauvinists who are engaged in dangerous games for electoral gains and call on the authorities to thwart their designs with vim and vigour,'' the signatories said.
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