Amidst the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) that continue to plague the national capital, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has announced a reward of Rs. 5,000 to people who will provide them information about illegal Pakistani and Bangladeshi infiltrators staying in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik told to AV, “Shiv Sena has also opposed the plan to extern Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants. And if Raj Thackeray is doing this by giving rewards, then we will welcome his initiative. Earlier too, the MNS caught some people alleging that they were Bangladeshis. However, after checking the documents, it was found out that they were Indians. I hope, Raj will not repeat the same mistake again.”
After the government of India passed the CAA bill last year that saw protests all across India, the Raj Thackeray-led party has come out with posters in Aurangabad stating that informers giving correct information regarding illegal Pakistani and Bangladeshi intruders would be rewarded Rs 5,000.
While on one hand the CAA and NRC has been opposed widely across India and rejected by several political parties, on the other hand, several political leaders and people have endorsed the NRC and the CAA.
When AV contacted Congress spokesperson Raju Waghmare he said, “I think it is all just a publicity stunt by Raj Thackeray ji to be in public domain because they have nothing else to do. Nobody has a right to ask anybody to show their documents. And if somebody does, he/she will create a nuisance. And nothing will happen; MNS will not be able to trace a single Bangladeshi or Pakistani immigrant.”
Akhil Chitre, a MNS party functionary has proposed rewards to people who would provide correct information of the ‘infiltrators’. He said that Rs 5, 000 will be given as a token of appreciation to them and the informants’ while keeping their identity a strict secret. The MNS has been continuously adopting an aggressive attitude towards illegal infiltrators.
On February 4, the MNS had put up posters threatening Bangladeshi immigrants in Raigad district’s Panvel area. Also, earlier this month MNS had put up a poster near Matoshree, the residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray asking him to clean up his own locality first of infiltrators from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The poster read, “Respected Chief Minister, if you are serious about action against illegal infiltrators, start by cleaning your Bandra locality first which is filled with infiltrators.”
MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande he said, “I am not aware of it. The poster has been put in Aurangabad you can contact the leaders from that place.”
Earlier Raj Thackeray had said that Pakistani and Bangladeshi “infiltrators” should be evicted from the country and supported the Modi government on this. However, Raj Thackeray had been one of the most prominent critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the Lok Sabha elections. But by seeing his support to CAA and NRC, Thackeray has reportedly started to grow close to the BJP.
On January 23, Raj Thackeray had unveiled the party’s new flag and inducted his son Amit Thackeray in active politics. By the party’s new flag, it seems that he has been shifted to ‘Hindutva’ from his earlier ‘Marathi Manoos’ ideology. Many leaders and Shiv Sena too taunted Raj for his new stance.