Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray on Saturday demanded arrest of the Maharashtra revenue minister Narayan Rane, alleging that he hired goons to attack the Pune-based of the party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
Rane, who is currently on Europe tour should be arrested on his arrival at Mumbai airport as he had hired underworld elements to vandalise the Saamana office, Thackeray said in a hard-hitting editorial in the party's paper.
Demanded stringent action against the Minister, Sena Chief said, "If government does not initiate steps to book Rane, the Shiv Sena will."
Referring to the caricature of Rane in a female form published in 'Saamana' that led to the attack allegedly by Rane supporters, Thackeray said, as a cartoonist I have caricatured in the same manner leaders like Pandit Nehru, Comrade Dange, YB Chavan and also Sharad Pawar. But all of them took it in good humour as it should be.
Drawing a parallel between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati sacking a cabinet colleague for criminal activities and the attack on the newspaper office on Thursday night, Thackeray said the same yardstick should be applied by Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in booking Rane for the offence.
The Sena supremo also asked the journalists and political parties to take up the issue of freedom of expression, which had been violated by the attack on the Saamana establishment.
Thackeray lambasted Rane, who crossed over to Congress deserting the Sena in 2005, saying the attack on 'Saamana' was symbolic of his frustration over failing to become Chief Minister by dislodging incumbent Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The party newspaper had parodied Rane by publishing his caricature depicting him as a newly-wed bride after Chief Minister Deshmukh described his bete noire as a new daughter-in-law of Congress, who would need time to get adjusted to a new culture.