Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said on Monday that his protest march was not a pro-Hinduism demonstration against Muslims.
"This is not a Hindu-Muslim issue at all," said Raj at a press conference at his residence. "The march aims to protest against the failure of the government bring to book the violent protesters who even had the audacity to batter policemen."
Raj said he would further clarify his stance in his speech at Azad Maidan, which will be the concluding portion of his protest march.
He criticised the state for failing to arrest protesters who made provocative speeches from the dais. "My workers are beaten up even when they fight for legitimate rights, but these people, who were responsible for violence, are going scot-free," he said.
Raj's estranged cousin and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Monday took a strong stance against the Azad Maidan protest, even resurrecting the call of 'Hinduism is Nationalism'. Raj refused to comment when asked about this.
About the DB Marg police station denying him permission to gather at Chowpatty, Raj said he would not hold a gathering, but lead his supporters to Azad Maidan from there. "This is not done. They did not allow me to hold a rally even during the election."
Raj held the state responsible for the situation. "If the state had handled the violence issue properly, I would not have held the march," he said.