After Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s barbed comments at the Devendra Fadnavis-led government over court-mandated curbs on dahi handi celebrations, the Shiv Sena too jumped into the fray on Saturday, saying that people are not able to celebrate any festivals without restrictions.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said the issue is not limited to dahi handi alone. “There is always a shadow of terrorism concerns while celebrating festivals. There are red alerts for Ganpati, Diwali, Navratri. We have to celebrate our festivals with caution. Even the Amarnath Yatra is targeted. Are we supposed to celebrate any festivals or not?”
He added that instead of being fit into statutes of limitations, festivals should be celebrated, and courts should take everyone into consideration before taking such decisions.
The party’s mouthpiece, Saamana, too said festivals such as Ganeshotsav, Dahi Handi, Navratri are all topics concerning their beliefs, and the courts should not interfere.
“At least in the case of these festivals, the courts should not cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha.’ People have democratically elected their government. If courts try to kill this democracy, all the administrative foundations will crumble. Festivals will be celebrated. People will oppose attempts to stop these celebrations and the Shiv Sena will take leadership,” the Saamana editorial said.
It added that there is anger among people due to ‘fatwas’ by courts on their festivals.
The party’s outrage comes days after the Supreme Court ordered curbs on dahi handi celebrations, restricting the height of the pyramids to 20 feet and allowing only people above 18 to participate in the human pyramids.
Earlier, MNS chief Raj Thackeray had criticised the Fadnavis government for not effectively presenting its case on dahi handi to the apex court, asking if people should celebrate the festival by standing on a stool.
Uddhav Thackeray also took a dig at the BJP’s ‘Atal bandhan’ exercise, similar to the Shiv Sena’s ‘Shiv bandhan’ initiative, to unify its cadre and reach out to more people. “Shiv bandhan was born out of a sentiment. It is about our emotions, determination, and is not simply about marketing,” he said.