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I cannot be a mute spectator: Raj Thackeray

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Last updated on: January 24, 2009 23:20 IST

Ending a long break, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has resumed his virulent campaign against North Indians describing Uttar Pradesh as a 'den of terrorism' and accusing the state's Chief Minister Mayawati and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad of doing caste politics.

Defying Maharashtra government's order asking him not to make provocative speeches, Raj, addressing a rally in Thane, spewed venom against North Indians justified his agitation against them who he said encroached on job prospects of locals in Maharashtra.

He said it would not be possible for him to abide by the government's gag order and he cannot be a 'mute spectator when interests of Maharashtra are at stake'.

"Let the government do whatever it wants. I will not watch things and will express my views. I cannot be a mute spectator," Raj said.

Alleging Uttar Pradesh was a den of terrorism in the country, Raj pointed to 'criminals hailing from Azamgarh and Jaunpur'.

Several criminals from UP were arrested in Maharashtra in arms sale cases, he said.

Raj also alleged irregularities in issuance of driving licence by transport authorities.

Raj singled out those from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, saying the word 'north Indians' should not be loosely used as states like Punjab, Haryana and Kashmir were also part of north India.

He said there was nothing like 'Uttar Pradesh Day' even in UP and "leaders from these places use the occasion to show their strength".

Raj recalled a speech in Parliament by late Indira Gandhi in 1972 where she said "one has to see that local people are not deprived of employment".

The MNS chief charged Mayawati, BSP supremo and Lalu Prasad, RJD chief, with indulging in casteist politics.

He also came down heavily on "spineless" politicians from Maharashtra who remained "mute spectators when leaders from UP and Bihar unitedly launched an offensive against the state, within and outside Parliament".

The MNS chief also dwelt on Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue.

"If Karunanidhi can threaten to withdraw support to UPA government over injustices against Tamils in Sri Lanka, what are spineless politicians from Maharashrtra doing on the border row," he said.

"I am ready to go to jail again and again in the interests of Marathi people," Raj said, adding when he was arrested in October, he knew beforehand that his arrest was imminent.

Raj also came down heavily on Hindi and English TV channels, accusing them of distorting his speeches by wrong translation.

"These channels made a farce out of the 26/11 attack coverage and are spreading falsehood," he alleged.

Raj was greeted by his supporters with a typical Nazi-like salute when he arrived on the stage for the rally.

He began his speech by asking the crowd to observe a minute's silence in memory of policemen killed in 26/11 terror attacks.

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