In Bihar and Jharkhand, people from Maharashtra are leading a normal life despite the violent anti-north Indian campaign in Mumbai. A few, however, are avoiding using vehicles with Maharashtra registration numbers. Just to be on the safe side.
But these people are definitely unhappy — even angry — with the Maharashtra government for allowing Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to take over the situation.
A senior bank official in Patna, requesting anonymity, said, “It’s cool in Bihar. We don’t have any problem here. People are very cooperative and understand the real purpose behind all the hullabaloo created by the MNS.”
On the fear of a backlash, he said, “We don’t feel insecure here. But the Maharashtra government should immediately stop Raj Thackeray. There is a limit to everyone’s tolerance. If he continues to bash the north Indians, one can’t rule out the possibility of a backlash.”
But in Ranchi, people with Maharashtrian surnames did not venture out of their homes and offices during the festivities. Although A.M. Kharade, a senior executive of the Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL), said, “I never felt insecure in Jharkhand”, the company stepped up security for all the Marathi-speaking employees.
Condemning the MNS attacks, another CCL employee, S.V. Marathe, said, “What has happened in Maharashtra, particularly in Mumbai, is a cheap way of gaining popularity. The best place for such people to be is jail.”
Executive director in charge of the Steel Authority of India Ltd’s Research & Development Centre for Iron & Steel in Ranchi Jagdish Singh said employees were strictly forbidden to talk about regionalism or identify workers by the states they came from.
In Jamshedpur, the Maharashtrian-speaking people remained unperturbed. Subodh Godbole, a local contractor, said they had expressed their anguish by burning the effigies of Shiv Sena and MNS leaders. “The Thackereys have gone berserk,” he said.