The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ID crisis in Sena, cry bhaiyas

Mumbai, Nov. 24: The city’s eminent “bhaiyas” think that the Shiv Sena is going through a severe identity crisis. Otherwise why is it attacking its own Hindu brethren coming to the financial capital for something as meagre as a railway job'

“They have to make up their minds,” says Javed Akhtar, speaking on the ongoing Sena onslaught on “bhaiyas” (Uttar Pradeshis) and Biharis. “There is an inherent confusion in the Sena. They will have to decide which vice they prefer — between being Maharashtrian chauvinists and Hindutva chauvinists,” says Akhtar, who could trace his roots to Uttar Pradesh.

“They can’t do both at the same time. As ‘Hindu Hriday Samrat’, the only people Mr Bal Thackeray is supposed to dislike are the minorities. He can’t distinguish between Maharashtrians and non-Maharashtrians. That doesn’t make him a good samrat.”

Over the past week, the Sena has stepped up its attack on the lakhs of “outsiders” from north India who come to the city every year to take exams for railway posts. On Friday at Kalyan, as the candidates from outside Maharashtra who were to take Sunday’s railway board exam poured out of long-distance trains, the Sena activists turned on the heat. The activists — many of them women — kicked, punched and beat up the young men. The women screamed and pulled their hair. Not a few of their victims were Hindus.

The Sena even soft-launched a new movement on the occasion — Bihari ani Bhaiya Baher Kada Mohim (Out with the Biharis and Bhaiyas Movement). The railway board has indefinitely postponed the examination because the Sena activists damaged its office equipment. The Sena has promised more fireworks.

“It is very strange,” says actor Raza Murad, another resident “bhaiya” in Mumbai. “It’s so strange. On the one hand, they will swear by Hindutva. On the other, they will attack Hindus from other states,” says Murad, who is best remembered as the poet-singer in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Namak Haram. “But while they attack this community, they also try to woo voters at the local level,” says Murad. “If they are so against Biharis and bhaiyas, why do they nurture the Uttar Bharatiya Sena' And why do they perform the Chhat Puja with Govinda as a guest'”

The Sena denies that the Uttar Bharatiya Sena — a wing formed with north Indians to protect the interests of the community — is directly affiliated to it.

Backlash in Andheri

Two persons, claiming to be Sena activists, today allegedly assaulted the president of the Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad, Mangleshwar Tiwari, in Andheri. Tiwari was going to the high court to file a petition against the Sena’s stance on north Indians appearing for railway board examinations when he was accosted by the two who reportedly told him that party leader Raj Thackeray had said no one should be allowed to move the court.

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