Balasaheb Thackeray calls for ban on Oz cricket team playing in Maharashtra

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Mumbai, Jan 13 (ANI): Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray on Wednesday called for a ban on Australian cricket team playing in Maharashtra through an editorial in the Sena's mouthpiece 'Saamna'.

Thackeray's comments come in the wake of various incidents of violence perpetrated against Indian citizens in Australia, with the most recent happening on Saturday (January 09).

The Shiv Sena chief said that his outfit would protest and take action, if the Australian team visits India, especially Maharashtra, where the outfit's headquarters is based.

Addressing the media in Mumbai, Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena leader and editor of 'Saamna', said that the party would follow its chief's remarks in letter and in spirit, and would oppose the Australian cricket team's visit in its trademark disruptive style.

"Whatever Balasaheb has expressed today, that is a patriotic leader's stance. All our countrymen have only this thought in their minds that in Australia, Indian students are being attacked and people are being killed. These attacks have hurt Balasaheb's heart and he has expressed this hurt through 'Saamna'. He has said that playing with Australia is against our country's pride now, and I would like to repeat that when Balasaheb Thackeray says something, it is not discussed in Shiv Sena, only the action is taken," Raut said.

In the latest in a series of attacks, a 29-year-old Indian man, Jaspreet Singh, was attacked and set alight while he was parking his car in Melbourne on Saturday (January 09).

Earlier in the week, an Indian student was stabbed to death, straining ties between the two countries.

Attacks against Indian students in 2009, mainly in Melbourne city, led to protests by students and prompted Julia Gillard, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Education and Social Inclusion, and other Australian ministers to visit India and give the assurance that steps were being taken to stop the attacks.

The Australian police still only have general descriptions of the attackers and say that they have not yet been found. (ANI)

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