As MIM's Asaduddin Owaisi stirred a controversy after saying he would not chant 'Bharat Mata ki jai', political reactions have flown thick and fast in Maharashtra as well as outside the state. As would be expected, the Shiv Sena's mouthpiece Saamana wrote a strongly-worded editorial on the controversy saying that the citizenship of those who refuse to chant the slogan should be revoked.
"Owaisi has insulted Bharat Mata. Now, Muslims should come out in opposition to Owaisi and hail Bharat Mata," the Sena mouthpiece said, and added,"Bharat Mata ki jai is a matter of inspiration and devotion to the country. Considerations of caste and religion should not matter on such issues."
The Shiv Sena has said voting rights of those who refuse to chant the slogan should be taken away.
The Saamana editorial went to the extent of saying that Owaisi should be 'beheaded' for his remarks."Owaisi has said that even if someone puts a knife to his throat, he would not say 'Bharat Mata ki Jai.'...Such people's heads should be cut off," the editorial said.
Interestingly, the Sena drew a parallel with a case filed against Patidar leader Hardik Patel in Gujarat for insulting the tricolour and said that the incident took place 'inadvertently', and that he was languishing in prison for the offence. "The government and the chief minister in Maharashtra are from the BJP. In such situation, how could Owaisi, after insulting Bharat Mata in Latur, get away?," the Saamana editorial said.
"Indian Muslims like Sir Sayyad Ahmed, Dr Zakir Hussain and Dr Abdul Kalam have become educationists and scientists, but Muslim community has not had social reformers," the Shiv Sena has said.
The Sena's editorial came a day after MIM MLA Waris Pathan was suspended for refusing to chant 'Bharat Mata ki jai'. Earlier, BJP members cornered Pathan and asked him to say 'Bharat Mata ki Jai, to which he refused. Following this, a ruckus ensued in the Assembly, after which Pathan was suspended.
However, Congress leader Al-Nasser Zakaria alleged that the Sena is only indulging in politics of hypocrisy.
"This is the height of hypocrisy. On one hand the Sena preaches patriotism lessons to others and on the other, indulges in massive corruption in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ruled by it. There are irregularities worth hundreds of crore in awarding contracts for various purposes," he alleged.
"They (the Sena) should understand that they will be taken seriously, even by their own ally (BJP) after they come clean themselves. Merely chanting slogans won't make them nationalists," Zakaria said.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said everybody may not agree with the views of the RSS and BJP.
"The RSS and the BJP are portraying 'Bharat Mata' as a 'devi' (goddess) and are expecting all to chant slogans. Everybody may not want to subscribe to this. But, nobody would mind praising mother India," he said.
"They should first clear their stand on whom do they actually want all Indians to praise and then goaround giving certificates of patriotism to others," he added.
With inputs from PTI