Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray kicked up a storm once again when he said that the perpetrators of the recent Delhi gang-rape were from Bihar.
Speaking at the Global Konkan Festival in Mumbai on Saturday evening, he said the gang-rape of the 23-year-old woman was sad and nobody should ever face such a situation.
"However, nobody is willing to go to the root of the matter and reveal who committed the heinous crime. They were all from Bihar," Thackeray said.
The MNS chief said that whenever he raised the issue of Bihari criminals, he was abused, but now even Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has commented on the matter.
"She (Dikshit) said in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi that migrants in Delhi were responsible for the spate of criminal activities," Thackeray said.Reacting to Thackeray's claims, NDTV on Sunday reported that only one of the six accused is from Bihar.
Political leaders criticize Raj Thackeray
Leaders of different political parties on Sunday criticised Thackeray for his remarks.
Terming the remarks unfortunate, Congress spokesperson, Rashid Alvi said such remarks make the country weak.
"Such statements are very unfortunate. Some are breaking the country into India and Bharat (RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat), (and) some are differentiating between Bihar and Maharashtra (Raj Thackeray). This is unfortunate, and such remarks, will weaken the country and its democracy," said Alvi.
Echoing similar sentiments, Janata Dal (United) leader Ali Anwar said Thackeray's remarks were appalling and it seemed as if he was out of his mind.
"He is insane and there is no use commenting on his statements. He should make such comments outside Mumbai or, in any other part of the country, and then, he will see the consequences. He has a mania for making such illogical statements and disrespecting people," said Anwar.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said the MNS chief "has a habit of speaking in this manner".
"Raj Thackeray is habitual of making such statements. He should not make such comments," said Yadav.
Yadav challenged Thackeray to make such statements outside Mumbai or Maharashtra and then watch the consequences.
Minister for Animal and Fish Resources, Bihar, Giriraj Singh, said a case of sedition must be filed against Thackeray.
"If Raj Thackeray has given such statement, then he must have lost his mental imbalance. This may be a result of losing mental imbalance. Nobody can be permanent in politics by spreading communal discord. The election commission must dismiss their party, because such statements are not constitutionally accepted," said Singh.
In Maharashtra, the Congress hit back by terming Thackeray's statements as "irresponsible and deplorable".
State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said there have been several instances when MNS workers and leaders have been involved in criminal activities.
"Last month, an MNS leader was arrested by Vikhroli police for raping a minor girl. Three years ago a minor housemaid was gang-raped by four MNS workers. An MNS leader was arrested for the rape of a girl in Amravati in April 2011. Thackeray is bereft of issues and is resorting to such statements to divert attention from his partymen's actions," Sawant said in a strongly worded statement Sunday evening.
In the past, Thackeray had said that migrants and Biharis were responsible for the growing criminal activities in Mumbai and other parts of the state.