Sena Supports ‘Free Kashmir’ Poster Girl

MUMBAI - The Shiv Sena on Thursday hit out at BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis for targeting Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the "Free Kashmir" placard displayed by a woman at a protest in Mumbai against the JNU violence.

When Mehek Prabhu, a Marathi woman from Mumbai stood up for the pain of Kashmiris by holding the placard, the opposition termed it as "sedition, the Shiv Sena said, adding that there cannot be a "dirtier example of irresponsibility".

In remarks laced with sarcasm, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' 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," it said.

"This is not good for the state...we are worried for the opposition," the Shiv Sena tauntingly said.

After the placard with "Free Kashmir" message was seen at the protest at Gateway of India here against the JNU violence, Fadnavis had asked what exactly was the protest for and if Chief Minister Thackeray will tolerate this "anti-India campaign" right under his nose.

The Sena said Mehek Prabhu, a Maharashtrian, came out before TV channels after her placard kicked up a row and gave her side of the story, saying her intention was about freeing Kashmir from communication restrictions faced by people there.

"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," it said.

"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.

It also asked former chief minister Fadnavis to exercise caution and restrain, and respect his current post as leader of opposition (LoP) in the Assembly.

"We understand his pain. He should apply balm on his wounds and stay quiet for sometime," it quipped.

The Sena said 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," it asserted.

The Shiv Sena asked the BJP to organise a counselling workshop on "duties and responsibilities of opposition" at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabhodini, a RSS-affiliated research institute located in neighbouring Thane district.

It also took a dim view of BJP leader Chandrasekhar Bawankule asking Congress' Vijay Wadettiwar to join the saffron party, amid speculations that the latter was upset with the portfolio allocated to him in the Thackeray-led state government.

"This is too much. Did Bawankule quit the BJP and join the Congress after he was denied ticket in the Assembly polls (held in October last year)?" the Sena asked.

Maharashtra cannot afford loss of face and trust of the opposition parties, it added.


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