Raj Thackeray the founder of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a regional political party of the Indian state of Maharashtra, was given bail on surety of Rs.100,000 for his involvement in the attacks on North Indians in riots in 2008.
The MNS, formed in 2006, has always been known to attack, politically and physically, the many North Indians that have migrated to the state of Maharashtra, home to thriving city of Mumbai to which thousands flock to everyday from all over India in search of work.
The MNS ideology favors the Marathi Manoos or the local Marathi population that has been living in the state for generations and instead works rigorously against anyone who doesn’t fall into that category and is present in Maharashtra. Specifically targeting migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Thackeray portrays them as being a threat to Maharashtrian culture.
The 2008 riots for which Thackarey presented himself in court, surrendering, started as a violent clash between party workers of the MNS and Samajwadi Party, who were about to attend a rally but were stopped by the attacks. Thackarey then justified the attacks saying that the rally was an “unnecessary show of strength” and a form of “political and cultural bullying” by the migrants of other states and their leaders.
Initially reluctant, after 10 days, the state government finally arrested Thackeray and a local SP leader for igniting violence and communal conflict. However, they were released the same day with a gag order, preventing them from making any more provocative remarks. After his arrest, Thackarey’s supporters engaged in acts of violence against North Indians, resulting in mass numbers of people fleeing major cities, subsequently creating a labor shortage and extreme financial losses. Though this happened in February, instances of violence were reported until later that year.
On October 19, MNS workers attacked North Indians who had come to appear for the railway recruitment examination. This led to the final arrest of Raj Thackeray and his subsequent trial.