Like a first warning shot, the Maharashtra Government has registered a criminal offence against the Shiv Sena Chief, Mr. Bal Thackeray for his recent call to boycott the Sikh community, but the Government would not make a hero out of him now by resorting any drastic action in this regard, the Chief Minister, Mr. S.B. Chavan, told the state assembly on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister announced this while replying to a two and half hour discussion in the House on a short notice move by Mr. Manikrao Thakre (Cong. 1) and) several other members from both the sides on the implications of the controversial boycott call.

The assembly hall earlier reverberated with condemnation of the Shiv Sena Chief from almost all the members, irrespective of the party loyalties, and repeated plea to Mr. Thackeray to retract the call and “return to sanity”.

Mr. Chavan warned the Sean chief not to imagine that the State government would do nothing to stop him from further jeopardizing communal harmony and peace in the State by such dangerous utterances. “We have, as a matter of warning, registered an offence against Mr. Thackeray. The police proceedings in this regard will take their own course”, he said.

The Chief Minister stressed the fact that terrorists in Punjab were trying to create a situation in which Sikhs all over the country would be compelled to migrate to that state and people from other communities living there to make an exodus out of Punjab.

The Chief Minister told the House amidst pin drop silence that he would deem it as a failure of his administration even if a single Sikh family in Maharashtra migrated from the state. He, however, reiterated that his Government was fully geared to protect all the minorities in the State and would brook no challenge on this.

Mr. Chavan acknowledged that different people had given him different kinds of advice on how to deal with the boycott threat but felt that the general tone of the House members during the debate seemed to be in favor of giving Shiv Sena Chief a chance to mend his ways.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 15, 1988