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Raj Thackeray may be muzzled for more time

CNN-IBN
Mar 04, 2008 at 01:45pm IST

New Delhi: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray's gag order may stay.

The Mumbai Police could serve a showcause notice to the MNS leader on Tuesday even as the Insider-Outsider debate looks set to rock Parliament again.

The police is to issue a fresh showcause notice to Raj Thackeray seeking an explanation as to why the gag order on him should not be extended.

Mumbai Police Commissioner, Hassan Gafoor says, "Preventive action is better then cure. It will be a legal notice as well as a quasi-judicial process by the DCP operations. Then we will contemplate what is to be done."

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil is expected to issue a statement in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday on the issue.

The order imposed by Mumbai Police on Thackeray ended midnight Monday. Raj was banned from speaking to the media or in public on February 11 for his outburst against North Indians.

His statements had sparked off a wave of violence in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had on Monday strongly criticised people for creating divisive statements.

Bollywood Battles Gag Order

The Hindi film fraternity on Sunday came together to oppose the gag order on Raj Thackeray.

The signature campaign initiated by MNS received support from actors Nana Patekar and Shreyas Talpade, producer Sajid Nadiadwala, director Sajid Khan, writer Subhash Bhende and MLA Shalinitai Patil. Personalities from literature and other streams have also opposed the gag order.

Marathi theatre and film personalities including Ashok Saraf, Bharat Jadhav, Atul Parchure, Sandeep Kulkarni, Prashant Damle, Mohan Joshi and others have also opposed the police order on Thackeray, a press release said.

In a letter, Patekar said that Thackeray had raised an “important” issue. “There may be a difference of opinion about the manner in which Raj has raised the issue,” he said in the letter. “But there is no doubt about the importance of the issue he has raised,” he added.

“If the son-of-the-soil concept is wrong, then the formation of states on linguistic basis should also be questioned. To what extent can one bear the insult on his culture and people?” Patekar asked in the letter.

Over five lakh signatures have been collected in support of Thackeray during a signature rally conducted in Maharashtra, MNS spokesperson Shirish Parkar said in a statement.

Thackeray had made inflammatory statements against north Indians, which resulted in incidents of violence across Maharashtra last month.

The city police had imposed a prohibitory order against Thackeray on February 11 preventing him from addressing public rallies or press conferences.

The order was later extended till March 3, and was upheld by the Bombay High Court despite Thackeray challenging it.

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