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India: Regional chauvinism growing and no one to stop it!

Categories: South Asia, India, Governance, Law, Politics

Terrorism and nationalism on a regional scale are now spreading in India. The latest region which appeared in the headlines is the state of Maharashtra [1]. Right wing politician Raj Thackeray [2] had so far been mostly using only words to promote regional chauvinism and threatening non-Maharashtrian people who are living and working in Maharashtra; some of them living there for generations!! There have been some isolated incidents of violence in the past few months but nothing big. But all that, as per Thackeray, was just a trailer of the movie. The real deal came out a couple of days back when the goons of various political parties, like Maharashtra Navnirman Sena [3] of Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena [4] (the political party & self appointed moral police from which Raj defected to start his own political party), came out and beat up every North Indian youth they can lay their hands on, reports Nitish [5] [hi].

The North Indians who got beaten up had come to appear for examinations for jobs in Indian Railway. Earlier it was only Raj's MNS that was singing the song of regionalism [6], which most people know has been nothing but dirty politics to capitalize on the local votes. Now it seems that the other political parties have also tuned into the show, writes Nitish. He adds that all of a sudden just about all the local political parties in Maharashtra are now saying that this is the people's fight and they being representative of the people have instigated it. In other words they also want a share of the vote pie that will generate because of this agenda. And after that beating up of north Indian candidates for railway jobs, the political parties & their leaders in north India called for action to be taken against Raj Thackeray. Some like the Railway minister Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav [7] went so far as to label Raj Thackeray as a nut case!!

Nitish writes in another post [8] [hi] that the Jamshedpur High Court has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Raj which has been duly received by the Mumbai police. The police started arresting MNS workers who were disrupting law & order and by last count they had arrested 1100 of them. And finally the Maharashtra government displayed courage & arrested Raj, updates Nitish [9] [hi]. The Vilasrao Deshmukh government in Maharashtra has been under a lot of pressure to put an end to this madness that has been brewing in the state for past sometime & growing violent day by day. But it is not clear yet whether this arrest will end that, since just after Raj's arrest the MNS workers got violent, burnt cars, smashed cabs and auto-rickshaws. And Nitish questions what can possibly be the reason that the state administration has been condoning only Raj Thackeray for such a long time?!

Links courtesy: Narad [10]