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Terrorism & Security

Mumbai tense following arrest of right-wing leader

The detention of Raj Thackeray, an anti-immigrant activist, threatens to stoke communal tensions against workers from northern states in India's financial hub.

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Several political parties called for the MNS to be banned and criticized the center and state government for failing to take prompt action.

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Members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party demanded a ban on the MNS and the Centre's intervention under Article 355 to ensure the safety of life and property of north Indians in Maharashtra....
Raising the matter, Devendra Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal said there was a sense of insecurity among the north Indians following these attacks, particularly because such incidents had been happening off and on. These fundamentalist groups were bent upon dividing the country on the basis of language and region, he said, adding that the State government had failed to prevent such attacks and sought the Centre's intervention in banning the organisation.

According to the Indian news channel NDTV, the Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday went so far as to describe the MNS as a terrorist organization.

Thackeray is the nephew of Bal Thackeray, the founder of the right-wing Hindu Shiv Sena party. According to the BBC, the Shiv Sena has long advocated for the rights of ethnic Marathis – people who can trace their origins to the state of Maharashtra.

In December 2005, Raj Thackeray left the Shiv Sena, forming MNS in March 2006. Recently, the MNS has been more militant about championing its anti-immigrant agenda than the Shiv Sena. Thackeray has also resorted to other tactics to ensure the rights of ethnic Marathis, reports the BBC.

Recently Mr. Thackeray's party protested against Jet Airways, India's largest private airline, after it announced that it was laying off 1,900 employees to cut costs.
The airlines later reinstated their employees, though it was not clear whether Mr. Thackeray's protests had anything to do with the decision.
Mr. Thackeray also accused Jaya Bachchan, wife of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, of making comments which promoted Hindi over the local Marathi language and threatened to block the release of her husband's new film.
The row was resolved after Mr. Bachchan offered an apology on his wife's behalf.

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