Amid the controversy over the “Free Kashmir” placard seen at the anti-JNU violence protest at Mumbai’s Gateway of India, the Shiv Sena party mouthpiece, Saamnaa, on Thursday supported the woman who held up the poster, saying she has clearly said her intention was only about lifting the communication restrictions in Kashmir.
Asserting that Mehek Prabhu, a Marathi woman from Mumbai, stood up for the pain of Kashmiris by holding the placard, the Sena mouthpiece said, “A Mumbaikar Marathi woman could understand the pain of Kashmiris. The opposition feels this is sedition. There can’t be a dirtier example of irresponsibility.”
“If the opposition and its supporters feel expressing yourself fearlessly is sedition, it is not good for them (opposition) and the country. The opposition has fallen flat on its face after Mehek Prabhu’s clarification,” the Marathi publication said.
Hitting out at Fadnavis for targeting Uddhav, Sena, sarcastically said the placard “shocked the opposition leaders and awakened the nationalist sentiment in them.”
“They attacked Chief Minister Thackeray and asked how this anti-national activity can happen right under his nose. The allegation was so frivolous that the opposition leaders made a mockery of themselves. “This is not good for the state…we are worried for the opposition,” the piece read.
Reacting to the “Free Kashmir” placard, Fadnavis had asked what exactly was the protest for and if Chief Minister Thackeray will tolerate this “anti-India campaign” right under his nose.
“Protest is for what exactly? Why slogans of “Free Kashmir”? How can we tolerate such separatist elements in Mumbai? ‘Free Kashmir’ slogans by Azadi gang at 2km from CMO? Uddhavji are you going to tolerate this free Kashmir anti-India campaign right under your nose???” Fadnavis had btweeted, tagging Uddhav.
This started a spat between him and Cabinet Minister Jayant Patil on Twitter. Responding to Fadnavis, Patil claimed the placard sought for ending all forms of discrimination in Kashmir. He also accused the former CM of trying to confuse people.
“Devendraji It’s ‘free Kashmir’ from all discrimination, bans on cellular networks and central control. I can’t believe that responsible leader like you trying to confuse people by decoding words in such a hatred way. Is it losing power or losing self control?” Patil tweeted.
Fadnavis hit back, claiming the NCP leader was indulging in “vote bank” politics. “What a pity! Now separatist tendencies get a government advocate. Jayantrao, this vote bank politics is not expected from you. Kashmir has already been freed from discrimination. Certain curbs have been there since decades for security concerns. Be it in the government of opposition, for us the only principle is NATION FIRST,” Fadnavis tweeted.
Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut Tuesday said the placard only suggested freedom from restrictions in Kashmir.
In Saamna, the Sena also asked the former chief minister to exercise caution and restrain, and respect his current post as leader of the opposition (LoP) in the Assembly.
“We understand his pain. He should apply balm on his wounds and stay quiet for sometime. The opposition BJP “needs counselling” as it has become “directionless” since Fadnavis became LoP. Everyday, the Fadnavis-led opposition feels the state government will collapse and they would return to power,” the Shiv Sena said.
“The opposition raises flimsy issues in an attempt to corner the Uddhav Thackeray-led government. But nothing of this sort will happen. In fact, the three parties (Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress- allies in the state government) will come closer and become stronger,” the article read.
Meanwhile, the Colaba police on Tuesday booked writer Mehak Mirza Prabhu on charge of provocation with intent to cause riot under the IPC. A day after, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Wednesday that what she meant to say through the placard will be reviewed. The police, meanwhile, said the crux of the investigation will be to “check her antecedents” to see if she has any cases registered against her or if she belongs to any group. It added that the popular interpretation of ‘Free Kashmir’ was secessionist and hence, an FIR was registered.
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