North Indians have again been attacked in Mumbai, as an anti-North Indian campaign by a regional party continues:
“Motorcycle-borne assailants smashed at least five taxis on Friday night. ”My car was attacked at around 2:15 am, I was asked if I was a Maharashtrian or a north Indian. When I did not answer, they attacked me and went away. I have no idea what happened after that.
”There were 4-5 people. There was a motorcycle and I realised that there was another vehicle here. The police haven’t done anything as yet,” said a victimized taxi driver. Though the police have arrested four people, it is not yet clear if the violence was incited by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which had run an anti-north Indian campaign last month.”
Shiv Sena has long been one of the leading parties in the state of Maharashtra (of which Mumbai is a part), and has long been hostile to non-Maharashtrians living in Mumbai and the surrounding areas. It is dominated by the Thackeray family. Recently however, Shiv Sena has begun courting North Indians, as the party wishes to present a more respectable image in the hopes of governing at state level. One Thackeray, Raj, decided to split from the party at this point, and formed his own party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which has targeted North Indians and other non-Maharashtrians, and it is their supporters who are responsible for the violence. Raj Thackeray was recently arrested, which Shiv Sena saw as a Congress-backed plot to raise the profile of Shiv Sena’s rival and split the Marathi communal vote.
Even national media organisations have been targeted recently:
“Network 18′s office(CNN-IBN, IBN7) in mumbai today resembles a fortress with police personnel guarding the office. Twice IBN7s OB vans were vandalised. A sad reflection on the government of the day which has given a free hand to Raj and his men to subdue the collective conscience of a liberal society with the use of violence.The mask has been cast away. Raj thackeray is back to the same tactics that he practised in his earlier party, Shiv Sena… the tactics of violence and fear.”
Perhaps worried by the amount of publicity that this was generating, and wanting some attention, Congress grandees Sonia and Rahul Gandhi declared that they would be willing to go to jail as part of a protest to find out whether the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (the largest Indian state), Mrs. Mayawati, has been embezzling money. Mayawati does seem to have acquired large sums of money (with her 2007 income estimated Â£5,000,000+).
Congress’ attempt to take the moral high ground is a bit rich however, as they were the party who had a convicted murderer in the cabinet, and he was convicted whilst in the cabinet (and not sacked). India is a great country and the world’s largest democracy, but what is it about their political parties? They make ours look like saints.
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Filed in: Current affairs,India,Race politics