The Shiv Sena wants a ban on the burqa. In an appeal made through an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, it has cited recent examples of the burqa being misused for stealing infants from hospitals.
"A two-month-old girl was stolen from V N Desai Hospital at Santacruz. It was found that a burqa-clad woman stole the child," the editorial said.
"The CCTV footage showed a 5-foot 2-inch person in white shoes but clad in a burqa. So what is the use of such footage?" the editorial asks state home minister R R Patil.
The editorial has also appealed to Muslim organisations to support their cause and prevent the misuse of the garment.
"The burqa is a mark of recognition of Muslim women. And it is being used to steal children. This is against Islam and Muslims should support the ban," the editorial said.
The Saamna editorials, written by its executive editor Sanjay Raut are often seen as reflecting Sena chief Bal Thackeray's views on various issues.
The editorial goes on to call French president Nicholas Sarkozy a "revolutionary" for having the guts to ban the burqa in his country, despite huge opposition.