Warrants against Raj; summons to Bal, Uddhav Thackeray

Warrants against Raj; summons to Bal, Uddhav Thackeray

Spelling fresh trouble for Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, a Delhi court issued two non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against him Saturday for humiliating the people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Fresh summons were also issued to Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his son Uddhav Thackeray, who is executive president of the Sena.

The court was hearing seven petitions against Raj Thackeray. Issuing the NBWs, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Manish Yaduvanshi held that he was promoting enmity between different groups.

"Instead of applying for cancellation of NBWs, (issued earlier by Bihar and Jharkhand courts), appearing physically and seeking bail, the accused has sought exemption from personal appearance, which is improper," the court said.

The court has fixed further hearing in the case Nov 17.

The Delhi magisterial court had, Aug 30, issued summons to Raj Thackeray for Friday. Thackeray skipped appearing in court and moved a petition for exemption from personal appearance on the ground that he has to attend the Ganesh Utsav in Maharastra. The court rejected his exemption application.

The two NBWs came as a revival of two earlier orders given by courts in Bihar and Jharkhand in November and December 2008 respectively.

The application for initiating proceedings against Raj Thackeray was made by lawyers Sudhir Kumar Ojha from Bihar and Sudhir Kumar from Jharkhand.

Ojha said that Thackeray humiliated people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in a February 2008 speech by ridiculing Chhath Puja, which is celebrated with enthusiasm in the two states.

Various criminal cases were lodged against Raj Thackeray in Bihar and Jharkhand, and courts issued warrants and summons against him.

The petitioners said that the MNS chief made remarks against Chhath Puja, a Hindu festival celebrated especially in Bihar, calling it a "drama" and a "show of numerical strength".

The Supreme Court later transferred the cases to the Delhi court after Thackeray raised concerns over his security. Another Delhi court Thursday ordered city police to register an FIR against the MNS chief for allegedly branding North Indians in Mumbai "infiltrators".
However, the court issued fresh summons to him on four other petitions and allowed him exemption in one petition.

Summons were also issued against Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray on a petition filed by Ram Lochan Sharma, of Begusarai, Bihar.