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MNS’ new campaign: Workers visit banks in Mumbai, demand Marathi be used for transactions

This move comes after Thackeray’s speech in Thane, where he criticised banks for ignoring Marathi, despite RBI guidelines on use of local language

mumbai Updated: Nov 21, 2017 16:06 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
At the rally in Thane on Saturday, Raj Thackeray criticised banks for ignoring Marathi language.(Praful Gangurde)

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has now started campaigning for the use of Marathi in all banking transactions, following its chief Raj Thackeray’s insistence on the need to prioritise the local language.

The MNS workers have started visiting various banks and demanding that they implement Thackeray’s diktat, which they claim is also in line with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.

On Monday, several workers visited Punjab National Bank, Allahabad Bank and Union Bank of India in Bandra-Kurla Complex and submitted a list of demands. “We have demanded that the banks should adopt Marathi aggressively in all their transactions. We want pay slips and signage boards to be in Marathi,” said MNS leader Akhil Chitre.

Workers warned the bank staff that they would have to deal with consequences, if they ignored their demands. “We will deal with the banks in MNS style [read, with violence] if they don’t give Marathi language its rightful place,” Chitre said.

On Tuesday, party workers plan to visit foreign banks such as Citibank.

This move comes after Thackeray’s speech in Thane on Saturday, where he criticised banks for ignoring Marathi language, despite alleged RBI guidelines on the use of local language. “From tomorrow, our workers will go to banks and check if transactions are being done in Marathi. If not, we will force them to do so. We are not breaking any law, just enforcing the RBI’s guidelines,” Thackeray said.

Unsurprisingly, banks are not happy with the MNS’ strong-arm tactics. “We are all dependent on our central offices and the RBI. We implement their guidelines. We fear that we will become a soft target for MNS workers,” said an official, who did not wish to be named.

In the past few months, after successive, humiliating defeats since 2014, the MNS has been trying desperately to revive itself. After the September 29 Elphinstone Road station stampede, Thackeray led a morcha against the railway administration, blaming it for the deaths of the 23 commuters, and demanding that it clear hawkers from its premises. Since October 21, the MNS workers have been attacking hawkers, ransacking their wares and evicting them forcefully.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 10:55 IST