Mumbai, Oct 12: Shiv Sena brings Maharashtra to shame once again. The vicious assault on Sudheendra Kulkarni by Shiv Sainik goons on Monday highlights the hooliganism of the far-right political party. Kulkarni was heckled, smeared with black ink for committing an act which is perceived as a major crime by the Hindutva group: inviting a Pakistani dignitary.

The treatment meted out to Kulkarni exposes the fact that Shiv Sena considers itself beyond the law when it comes to Maharashtra. Instead of expressing regret over the fanatic display of resentment by his party workers, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “They (Shiv Sainiks) smeared the organizers with black ink. It was a very mild reaction. This is nothing compared to what will be done if the event is not called off. We cannot tolerate a Pakistani dignitary on our soil when our soldiers are killed on the borders.”

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Their disregard towards the law of the land is defended by party sympathizers who claim that they only indulge in violence to protect ‘religion’, ‘culture’, ‘sons of the soil’, and teach a lesson to ‘anti-national’ elements. However, the escalating intolerance shown by the fringe outfit is a matter of concern for those who aspire for a liberal Maharashtra. The self-proclaimed ‘cultural-protectors’ are instead defaming the state globally.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who was driven to power by the electorates of Maharashtra should reflect on the fact that the BJP won twice the assembly segments than Shiv Sena. The voters expressed their confidence in the promise of development made by the Modi-led revamped BJP rather than the radical Hindutva agenda of Sena. Would it not be a breach of trust by giving its ally Shiv Sena a free space to act as the extra constitutional authority of Maharashtra?

The government at the Centre and state needs to make Shiv Sena accountable for its actions. The ultra-nationalistic mode adopted by the party cannot always serve as an excuse for unleashing a reign of inland terror. The very basis of party’s survival in Maharashtra depends on fanatically advocating cultural hegemony, ethnocentrism and negative regionalism. Electoral supporters of Shiv Sena should contemplate on the fact that their unhindered electoral assist to the Thackeray clan is fueling the politics of hatred.