Raj Thackeray broke his week-long, self-imposed silence on Saturday, and warned there may be repeat of the recent violence against north Indians.
Addressing reporters, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief alleged that north Indian leaders "come here and use abusive language against us. We don't want violence, but if anyone raises a finger against us, we will retaliate. I will not allow the high-handedness of these people in Maharashtra."
Through last week, north Indians, especially taxi drivers and hawkers, were the target of MNS attacks.
"How come M Karunanidhi (Tamil Nadu CM) or J Jayalalithaa (AIADMK chief) never visit the state, but leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Amar Singh frequently come here and indulge in mischief? These leaders don't create jobs, sending instead hordes to Mumbai… They take away jobs from locals," Thackeray said.
He admitted that his cadres took part in the violence. "It was an expression of popular sentiment against north Indians in which ordinary citizens also took part," Thackeray said. He also cited the example of Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Tejinder Khanna, who had reportedly said that north Indians were habitual rule-breakers. Khanna later issued a denial, saying his statement was misinterpreted by the media.
Thackeray even refused to allow journalists from the Hindi and English electronic media into his press conference.