Gaurakshaks should be sent to fight terrorists in Kashmir, said Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday. “Should I now believe that instead of grenades and arms, if beef was found in the bags of these terrorists, not a single one of them would have escaped. We have this entire farce around gauraksha and gaurakshaks. Why don’t you send these rakshaks to take on the terrorists,” Thackeray said, while addressing a gathering of Ganesh mandals in the city.
These mandals are up in arms against various restrictions imposed by the state administration over how the annual Ganesh festivities in the state should be conducted, including sound limits to be ensured. In the wake of the terror strike against Amarnath yatris, Thackeray claimed that Hindus were being targeted in the country. “We are heading towards darkness. Festivals are small moments where we forget our troubles. But if you start imposing such restrictions trust me the Sena will not allow you to be in peace,” Thackeray said taking a swipe at the BJP government.
He also took a swipe at those who he claimed had been asking the Sena not to mix politics with culture and sports when it had opposed Pakistani actors and sportspersons. “We were told not to mix politics with culture and sport. But yesterday religion and politics were mixed and terrorists attacked innocent pilgrims. Do you have the guts to say the same things that you told us to these terrorists,” Thackeray asked.
The Sena has stated that the government needs to do more than plain lip service to rein in terror in Jammu & Kashmir. It has also stated the Sena founder, Bal Thackeray, had ensured a smooth yatra by threatening to disrupt Haj flights from taking off from Mumbai if Amarnath pilgrims were attacked. “The attack was not only on pilgrims going for the Amarnath yatra but on the entire country and the Central government. Merely condemning the incident will not suffice. It is time that this government does something concrete to give terrorists a befitting reply,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told reporters in Mumbai.
Raut claimed that the attack was on the entire nation and stated that Hindus of the country were felling targeted. Taking a swipe at the BJP, Raut said that the attack was proof that the surgical strike against the neighbouring country and the demonetisation move had yielded no results. “A permanent cure has to be found against Pakistan and its terrorist activities,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
He claimed that the Sena had tackled a similar threat to the yatra in 1996 with the party supremo Bal Thackeray threatening to disrupt Haj pilgrims from flying out of Mumbai. He claimed this threat had ensured there was not a single casualty. “Balasaheb had then publicly announced that if there was a single casualty by a terrorist attack during the Amarnath yatra, the Shiv Sena will ensure that not a single plane from anywhere across the country takes off with Haj pilgrims. The situation today is such that a similar stand needs to be taken now,” Raut said. Later in the day, party chief Thackeray said his party was still capable of carrying out Bal Thackeray’s threat.