Varanasi/New Delhi, Feb 3 : Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena activists have demanded action against Raj Thackeray, a Shiv Sena rebel and the chief of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), for his comments on 'Chhat' festival.
Samajwadi Party activists staged a protest in Varanasi on Sunday condemning Raj Thackeray's statement. Protestors halted 'Mahanagri Express' for two hours in Varanasi.
Raj Thackeray had termed 'Chhat Puja', the annual festival of Bihar and some parts of Uttar Pradesh, as "drama".
"By making such statements, Raj Thackeray has tried to divide the nation," said Ashutosh Sinha, an activist.
Similar protests were witnessed in New Delhi where activists of Shiv Sena, the main opposition party in Maharashtra, demanded immediate arrest of Raj Thackeray.
"Raj Thackeray's comments have not only insulted lakhs of people living in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but also others. We request the Home Minister to arrest the person who tries to spurt communal hatred," said Jai Bhagvan Goyal, the chief of Delhi's Shiv Sena unit.
Chhat Puja is especially significant for married women who observe a two-day fast and offer prayers standing waist-deep in water for at least two hours and offer their prayers to the Sun God.