Arresting Raj Thackeray

I have not been able to make up my mind on whether we should have laws against the kind of things Raj Thackeray says. Quite clearly, conspiring to commit violence should be punished. If I were to pick up a phone and ask a hitman to kill someone, I cannot claim free speech protection. I don’t see how anyone can claim free speech protection if he asked a crowd of people to do the same. The problem is that when people “incite violence” they do not use very precise words. A judge has to consider hidden meanings and effects of those words on “reasonable people”, and a person who listens to Raj Thackeray and then goes out to beat up North Indians is, by definition, unreasonable.

What I am sure of, however, is that it is not necessary to arrest Thackeray to stop the violence or prevent future violence. Also, I am quite sure that arresting him in this way is counter-productive.

People call the events that occurred in Mumbai “mob violence”.  To an extent, they are correct. There were mobs, and they went around committing violence. But we have long known that the actions are much less spontaneous than what the term suggests. It is the middle level leaders who plan, organize and lead those beatings and burnings. They do it because they can get away with it, and because those things are impressive accomplishments on a resume when they want to stand for elections. The footsoldiers who actually indulge in the violence may be sincere or cynical, but the middle level leaders are invariably cynical, and they are in it for what they can get out of it.

The common excuse that the police provide for why they cannot punish the guilty is that they cannot put entire mobs in jail. The thing is, they don’t have to. If they round up the ringleaders and make sure that the cases against them are vigorously pursued, that is all that is needed.

Now, if those ringleaders were sincere believers in whatever cause they are organizing violence to achieve, then jail terms for them would have been counter-productive, because it  would make martyrs out of them. But then, if those folks were sincere believers, they’d be seriously pissed off when they find Raj Thackeray roaming free. Not only that, they will be even more pissed off when they find that when the political situation changes and he needs North Indian votes, he changes his tunes -and of course, the political situation in India changes more frequently than the weather in England.

So the point is that arresting mid-level leaders but not the top level leaders is actually a pretty workable strategy – in fact, it is better than having token arrests of the top leaders, rare or no prosecutions and absolutely no convictions. It is the worst of the worlds. Thackeray gets to be a martyr without actually suffering a jail term. His followers get enthused and he gets an aura of invincibility around him.

35 thoughts on “Arresting Raj Thackeray

  1. Why should it be ‘effect of those words on “reasonable people” ‘ rather than ‘effect of those words on the audience’ ?

  2. siva,

    the judge can consider his perception a reasonable person’s perception. more practical to execute. to value effect on audience, the judge would have to think the way several wierd people, and pyschootics think and then decide. this is less practical as you could have said ‘potato’ and a memeber of the audience could have understood it as ‘ak47’ for no special reason at all.

  3. What is the use of arresting anyone. Even if there is a very strong case, the person will just get bail. Then the case will take 10+ years to come to a trial and that is just at the sessions level.

    Even if proved guilty by the lower court the High Court can grant bail pending an appeal, where the case can linger for 10+ years more.

    Finally even if the High Court convists, the person can appeal to the supreme court. Where more years are wasted.

    It’s no wonder that the justice system in our country is so messed up.

  4. Am I seeing the usual American fanaticism for “free speech?”

    Notwithstanding the fact that there is no complete freedom of speech anywhere in the world, India explicitly restricts speech in the interests of the wider society. Incitement is a form of attack that creates anger and spreads prejudice. The UK has strict laws against making inciting speeches. Those die as a consequence of riots that ensue from such incitement are losing their right to life. In the end it is matter of balancing the rights of different people.

    In a communally sensitive country like India, such behaviour should be nipped in the bud.

  5. Ravi,

    I think Siva is correct, a more appropriate criteria would* be effect on audience, because it is possible that audience is emotionally charged and react violently to speech.

    HiAgain,

    Now I am hardly a free speech fanatic, but free speech fanatics do have a point, which is that any restriction on free speech on account of fear of violence from mob will just encourage mob to violence.

  6. Hawkeye,
    Yes, the job of the judge will probably be easier if he has to consider only “reasonable people”. But in that case one can incite mentally ill, children or someone who cannot make rational judgments and then claim they are not “reasonable people”.

  7. arresting mid-level players is not that realistic.
    Even the low-level players are so brazen because they know—and others know—they have “patronage”; the “safety in mob numbers” is not that much of an issue.

    It is all like a street gang, its cohesiveness lies in such patronage. Step back and you get the entire democratic political system, a gang-structure greased with patronage and the brazenness that comes from that patronage.

    And validated by a peoples who lack a good enforcement of law and justice, and make up for it with a—lack of humility and maturity. The subtle tustle between head-with-air-heavy peoples and rival gangs defines said democratic systems. And we can’t demolish said building by prying out bricks on the second floor. The top floors weigh down and make it difficult.

  8. the poor third world nations remind me of the wild west movies; people having the know-it-all humility, as well as the courage of little girls[1]; the lack of common law; the festering gangs.

    Where are the men who ride in on their horses and shoot out the bad guys?

    [1] It has always surprised me how a populace can be so passive-aggressive; lacking both courage and humility.

  9. Well I guess after the Shiv sena brand of politics every one is trying to make a Sarkar out of themselves. It is cool to been seen as above the law and to impart justice as one may seems right…. The problem is with the police as an institution .. it is so impotent in its existence that every political party is able to manipulate it for their own good. Lets take a example of elections now any ruling party with the so called police at their disposal would love to rig the elections , but they couldnt why you may ask ? because election commision just don’t allow that ..it has autonomy and don’t suck up to anyone. … The best remedy would be not to jail to mid level leaders but beat the shit out of them when they went on rampage .. getting their ass whipped in front of the national television wont do great for the image of future sarkars :D….

  10. well I think the matter is not one Raj Thackrey, he is just another person taking advantage of the situation. the real problem is the situation itself. As long as we will keep our regional/state identity above our national identity likes of Raj Thasckrey will keep the kettle boiled of their evening cup of tea.

    North-north, south-south, hindu-, muslim- brotherhood
    these are the real prob. These collectivist alliances has to go for such probs to end.
    my 2cents.

  11. namaskar thakeray saheb,
    i am an advocate from pune.
    sir i just have some questions about your attitude.
    1) why you have centralised all your power in criticising and yelling against all of north indians?
    2) why are you not against bangladeshis who are staying in crores in india?
    3) why you are against north indians atleast they are indians?
    4) why cant first you work for lower class and their problems?
    5) why you always take your sabhas in middle of main streets creating problems, hasszles for common man who is travelling using his own money for petrol which is expensive especially in pune due to octroi.
    6) will you start working rather than yelling around?
    7) why have you backed a non puneite in pmc general elections if you are against brt like common pune man as it is geting on to us day by day as theyare using our money to make and unmake roads?
    8) why dont you ask marathi young generation to check on the volumes of their sound boxes which are installed during festive moods to dance which are not at all marathi in any sense cause as a marathi i know marathi has a good tradition of powada, lavani, bharud, abhang, pravachan and many more which doesnt cause noise pollution and ear problems to any person in the name of custom and tradition.
    9) i would like to bring to your notice that none of the festivals are organised to torture the society but to give some morals and messages.
    10) please see that during your sabhas none of the marathi manus is in trouble.
    i wish that you will answer my mail i am a marathi manus proper from pune (from generations).

  12. 1) because they behave in tht way not all but in general
    2) bangladeshi its the responsibility of central govt
    3) but they are crowding up maharashtra.
    4) u are not aware of it i guess
    5) u must ask the ruling party of the state for that, since it is the one not giving permission. and other north indian parties easily get permissions
    6) then u r a silly advocate , and don’t even know what all happening around you.
    7) but he is from maharashtra

    do u know the problem with u is…………….

    charity begins from home,
    u must be practicing , till date have u taken any case of the people of the lower caste , and i am for sure that, the answer is no. since u think that , they wont pay u for the work u do.

    all shit that happened in mumbai , against the north indians many of the advocates filed in petitions in the courts in north india ,

    even u know , what kind of menance , these north indians create. Check out all the FIR in police stations around your locality , u will find maximum no. of these are of north indians “thts wht we r trying to say ‘live here and be one of us’ dont try to over power us” but here u dont want to comment, because, chikhalat , haath takayala , konala hi avdat nahi, Raj saheb ni takla ahe tar pachat nahi tumha sarvanaa ,Actually people like u are traitors of the marathi community.

    Also Raj saheb , siad he want to do all his best only for mahrashtra, and have no interest in politics outside , maharashtra.
    So here is a man that is ready to devote himself to maharashtra , and people like u cant see this.

    Raj saheb aaplya sathi ubhe ahet, saath dya tyancha ,

    and also u are a brahmin , then it is fine , your views actually are right , because brahmins never mixed with any of the marathi caste , since they were very racists
    so u r not opposing Raj saheb , u being a brahmin , are opposing it.

    just wanna tell u one thing , make a view of ur own just dont , make opinion since evryone is making it.

    ajinkya bodke
    Raj thackeray supporter

  13. 8) but its kept within the limits of the law passed.
    but d laws were broken when there was a cricket
    match, and it was also appeared in the news paper
    then why didn’t u do anything about that.
    9) completely right , but the govt. doesn’t give permission
    u hold one . if u spend money on govt. u surely get 1.
    10) brahmins have a problem of their own , in removing
    faults out of everyone , so basically not possible to
    assure you that.

  14. Raj Thackeray is doing the right thing by attacking the crusaders of Marathi/Maharashtra.

    All states in our country have their identity thru language. Then why Marathi should be opposed in Mumbai/Maharashtra.

    Remember the Marathis may be in minority in Mumbai but whole of Maharashtra constitutes about 9 Crore Marathi population.

    Let all Marathis vote MNS to power.

    Yes, we respect our Rashtrabhasha but not at the cost of Matrubhasha.

    Jai Maharashtra, Marathi Maharashtra

  15. Hi,
    I have been following the whole drama of protecting ones individuality and language with no biased heart. This means I was reading for and against of the all these and what I felt is,there will not be any solution even if you arrest Raj Thackeray. Because the narrow thinking has entered into each and every persons mind. This is one of the biggest and oldest problem of india, whenever we become weak infront of others,we run and hide behind our language,culture and religion. We say our culture is the best,our language is unique. I want to ask one simple thing. When we boast of India being a multi language country infront of all the world where does this marathi and hindi exists….recently I was going through Raj Thackeray’s interview and I was so sad to read that he says where does hindi exists…Boss where the hell do you stay….if marathis are weak enough not to fight against others on the basis of knowledge then,better cut off from all the country…be inside their own state and then grow…they should not distribute the college form outside the state and should not allow any one to come and study here….should not allow hinjawadi to grow where all the IT industry are coming and settling…this is leading to state’s development. A state with such a low mentallity should either be wiped off the society or should be banned..if all the indians realise this,people like Raj Thackeray or his so called influenced morals wont even exist…

  16. Why blame Raj alone. In India only violence gets noticed and as long as that continues, will it not be used to get focus? Also is the Violence by MNS being highlighted to undermine the issue behind it? Is it not obvious that polarization is happening in Maharastra in lieu of violence and arrest? And in time before the elections? is it not true that there is an incentive to be violent in India, for only then the perpetrators or their issues get noticed?
    see http://www.chennaitvnews.com/2008/10/media-instigates-violence.html

  17. HI I AM ROHAN, A BIHARI BY BIRTH BUT MARATHI MANUS AT HEART. FOR YOUR INFOR I SPEAK CHASTE MARATHI.

    I FULLY SUPPORT AGITATION LAUNCHED BY RAJ SAHEB. JUST WANT TO TELL MY BIHARI(READ BHIKARI) BRO LALLUPRASAD TO DARE TO SEND THOSE BIHARI CHUMS TO T.N. OR KARANTAKA FOR EXAMS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!!!!

    DO YOU KNOW THAT THESE BIHARI CHUMS TAKE PRIDE IN TRAVELLING TICKETLESS IN NORTH AND WE INDIANS END UP PAYING FOR THEM.

    LET US DECIDE THAT WHENEVER NORTH INDIAN TICKET CHECKER ASKS YOU TO SHOW YOUR TICKET AT RAILWAY STATIONS, PL DO NOT CO-OPERATE, SHOO HIM AWAY. SHOW YOUR TICKETS ONLY TO MARATHI OR GUJJU TICKET CHECKER. ONLY THIS WAY LALLUPRASAD WILL LEARN A LESSON.

  18. Today Raj Thackeray can do whatever he wants because the common Marathi Manoos are favouring him. He is taking all of them for a ride by provoking them regarding Marathi Asmitha. It is his vendetta against his cousin Udhav Thackeray and his hunger to grow in politics as soon as possible using any kind of Means. By doing this he is trying to create a rift between the people of other states and the good Marathis Manoos. By doing this Marathi Manoos will get isolated from other communities in India. I APPEAL TO THE MARATHI MANOOS TO SEE THE MASTER PLAN OF RAJ THACKERAY WHO IS ONLY CONCERNED ABOUT HIS POLITICAL CAREER AND NOT ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF MAHARASHTRA. HE IS YOUNG AND IMPATIENT AND AS A REASON USING ALL THE DEVIOUS TACTICS. AS AN EXPERIENCED OLD MAN WHO HAD FOLLOWED INDIAN POLITICS FOR LONG, I HAVE SEEN POLITICIANS WHOSE MAIN POLICY IS DIVIDE AND RULE AND RAJ HAS OVERTAKEN EVERY ONE OF THEM. (Someone said Maharashtra has 9 crore Marathi population but dont forget India has 110 crore population and an 1 million strong Army with Navy and Air Force and was able to totally uproot the Khalistan Movement even though it had support from Pakistan and was fighting with AK 47 and grenades and not sticks and swords like MNS workers)

  19. Railways nail MNS lie

    The sons-of-the-soil theory in railway recruitments may not hold. Faced with a violent agitation spearheaded by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), railway authorities countered that the recruitments are purely merit-based with no favouritism shown towards any particular community or aspirants from a state. Several of the candidates who had arrived from north India on Saturday to appear for the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) exams were beaten up allegedly by MNS activists, demanding that the “outsiders” should not hog jobs of locals. DNA spoke to railway officials to clear the air on the application and selection procedure used in RRB exams:

    How are the recruitments done?
    Every zonal railway collects the number of vacancies in its respective divisions and submits a consolidated figure of the number of employees required under a particular category. The RRB, an autonomous body under the ministry of railways that conducts examinations and select candidates, scrutinises such requests and finalises the examination to be conducted for each category.

    Why do thousands of north Indians come to the city for the examinations?
    Mumbai, for that matter Maharashtra, is not the only centre for RRB examinations. These exams are conducted across the country at various places. It just happens that anyone from any part of the country may get Mumbai as the examination centre.

    Where and when did the ads appear in Marathi newspapers?
    As per procedure, we place the advertisements in at least two important Marathi newspapers, in this case Loksatta and Lokmat, one English newspaper and one regional Hindi newspaper, besides making an announcement through Employment News (a paper that highlights job opportunities). Despite all this, if the local youth do not apply, we cannot be expected to go around every household, requesting Maharashtrians to apply.

    For how many vacancies were the examinations conducted on Sunday?
    Four zonal railways, including Central (CR) and Western Railway (WR), submitted their requirement of 518 vacancies – which included 38 in the enquiry-cum-reservation-clerk category; 134 as assistant station masters and 346 guards. As many as 1.45 lakh candidates applied for jobs with CR and WR, but about 26,000 actually came to write the exam.

    What is the examination procedure like?
    Examinations by RRB are conducted in an absolutely transparent manner. Apparently, the procedure was amended; earlier, candidates would be interviewed before they were selected. But following criticism about favouritism, this was discontinued. There are three different papers, with multiple choice questions, set for every exam to ensure that no two students sitting next to each other get the same question paper.

    The general feeling is that they are here to clear exams for posting in Maharashtra?
    It is not necessary that a candidate who writes the RRB examination papers in Mumbai will get posted in the city. The posting can be anywhere in the country where the railways, for which the exams are held, exist.

    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1200677&pageid=0

  20. Wow.
    Chanced upon this blog while surfing, and its amazing how many people have such strong feelings ( for or against ).

    Just like most other crimes, murder, rape, thuggery and violence, the actions seen in Mumbai are deplorable. Nobody can HOPE to justify a handful of delinquents running around burning buses and taxis, imposing complete anarchy on a city that really just wants to get to work and fight the normal life that is tough enough without these vandals going around doing all that we saw.

    Nobody in their right senses can EVER, with a straight face, say that murder, violence or public damage is justified.Not even Raj T.

    It really is a problem of myopia.Some communities have it worse than others.

    These guys, people in power, REALLY have the opportunity to do SO much good, its not funny.The upliftment of the Marathi Manoos isn’t a bad, strange, or wrong agenda – quite the contrary.But if he REALLY wanted to do something about, he’d have studied the problem in depth and come up with a constructive way of handling this.

    The Marathi Manoos isnt represented in the railway board exams, he says.The answer is really not running around like 5 yr olds breaking, burning, demolishing tax-payer owned things to protest. It really is in understanding WHY these guys arent there in the first place? Is it a problem of basic lethargy?Is it an educational problem?Were they not informed about the tests? are they all busy erecting multi-million rupee statues?

    In a country like ours, there are no simplistic answers, and an over-simplification of core issues is purely used to address mind-numbed political rallies, not as national-level solutions.You cant fool us buddy.We’re on to you.

    If he wants them to eat, he can do two things, one is snatch a meal from somebody’s mouth, or spend some time and TEACH them to cook.The second option is tougher, needs more time than a 15 minute incendiary speech, but is SUSTAINABLE.Let everyone compete in a free market, and prove their mettle.Survival of the fittest.And who can know this better than us Mumbai-ites?

    It may mainly be a problem of an attention hungry young politician tryin to do some good for the state.He’s probably TRYING doing it too.But he’s heavily blinkered.Maybe ego,maybe just Myopia.And mis-fired rockets don’t do any good, they just result in huge losses.

    Surprisingly, there ARE answers. Buddy, if you have an issue with the lack of Marathi signage at the International Airport, you may realise that the “5-year-old” mindset is to go blacken it with paint.What have you achieved? A label as a vandal, you haven’t increased the Marathi signage, and the general disrespect of most intelligent sane people.I like you, i really do.You have drive and the power to REALLY do something.What an intelligent, forward thinking politician ( in the best interests of everyone) would do is commission a design outfit to design a multi-lingual signage system, well worked out, well designed, an INTERNATIONAL pride. Rather than international shame.

    Spare a thought for the Parsi’s. Look at their positions.They constiture 0.006% of the Indian population.Think they’re not represented? Politically? No leaders, no guiding lights, no strength to burn buses?Buddy, they’ve got themselves sorted out.They’re regularly setting up Hospitals, schools, public gardens, housing for their community, educational scholarships, freeships, low interest loans and a MULITITUDE of other Parsi-Manoos development schemes.They’ve got their head on their shoulders.Learn Buddy, learn.Its not happening in another country. Look around you.

    Would urge everyone here to just think about things.

    We’ve put these guys where they are.Not in places of power, but in places of esteem.Thats the true problem.See for yourselves, that they CAN do good things, they are CHOOSING not to.

    This is not really a question of identity, language, colour, caste, Bombay’s really above it all.We’re the best.We love our city.Please DO NOT mess with us.

  21. UP/BIHARIS DONT WANT TO DELVELOP THIER STATES & MIGRATE TO MAHARASHTRA/MUMBAI.

    THIS PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED PATIENTLY. LET US HELP RT IN THIS BY ;

    TRAVEL MOSTLY IN BEST BUSES/PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
    MARATHI AUTOS/TAXIS SHOULD PUT UP STICKERS TO DISTINGUISH THEMSELVES FROM THIS ROTS.

    EVERY MARATHI MANOOS ( AND PEOPLE FROM OTHER STATES STAYING IN MAHARASHTRA FOR YEARS ) SHOULD HELP MARATHI/MAHARASHTRA FIRST.

    NOBODY WANTS TO GO TO UP/BIHAR BECAUSE OF CRIMES, POWERTY, POLITICS.

    DONOT ALLOW THESE PEOPLE TO MAKE MINI UP/BIHAR IN MUMBAI / MAHARASHTRA.

  22. Hi All,
    I have some question for Raj thakrai after Mumbai attack

    1) Where are you now when Mumbai and peoples are not safe and needed help ?
    2) This attack is in India or in Mumbai ?
    3) Why You or your people not come in-front of them ?
    4) Jawan’s who saved mumbmai is only from mumbai ?

    as I think all answer of those question is one

    Think abut India, not abut yourself, If every one think like u Mr. thakrai not ur mumbai but our india not saved.

    In my point of view we are indian first and each Indian wana save there country first not there state

  23. FORGET POLITICIANS & BEAURACRATS………..

    TODAY ITS THE MODERN BRAHMAN OF THE SOCIETY “THE JUDGES” WHO ARE CORRUPT , UN ACCOUNTABLE , MURDERER AND HERE THE TERRORIST SIDING WITH RAJ THACKERAY……

    ITS HIGH TIME WE SHOVE THE JUDGES & THEIR FAMILY TO GUTTERS AS IN PUBLIC WE DO WITH THE GOONDA POLICE………..

  24. Politicians Like Raj Thackeray – Cause of a weakening Indian Society
    Don’t blame Pakistan or the terrorist. They had the courage and pride to inflict damage to a country they believe is there enemy. We have to blame so called Indians like the Thackeray’s and the people who follow them (Marathi Manoos) who are making our society weak. These people unlike the rest of India have never had to struggle and have lived off the wealth created by outsiders. They have negligible contribution towards the growth of Mumbai which was created by outsiders who believed in national pride, hope, hard work and continuous struggle for progress. Mumbai was created by British, Gujaratis, Marwadis, Parsis and companies like TATA’s whose wealth came from their flagship company “Tata Steel” in Bihar. In fact most of these people don’t know or care about Indian History, have never stepped outside Maharastra and are not aware that Mumbai wasn’t even a part of Maharashtra.

    Lack of enterprise, ethics, courage and hard work has resulted in a society which demonstrates incompetence in every area and has the potential to adversely effect the Nations growth and prosperity. This is not a simple problem. A weak society influenced by paranoid cowards, completely detached from reality, confused and megalomaniacs like Raj Thackeray has the potential to completely destroy the country to take india to fragmented pre-1947 india , which was a period of intense repression from foreign forces where we saw large scale genocides, large scale destruction of hindu temples and blatant conversion of temples into mosques

  25. Hi Alka,

    I am proud Maharashtrian and support Raj 100 %. All those who are criticing Raj know In their heart that they are wrong and what Raj is waying is right.

    Why should one city bear the load of failures of bihar n UP.. why people from other states are not flooding Maha..

    Give all a break..No one comes to Mumbai to develop mumbai. This is the biggest joke I am hearing from all North indians..

    All comes to Mumbai just to earn money thats it.. SHow me one nOrthy who has come to mumbai and dedicated his life for causes of Mumbai selflessly.. There thousands of Maharashrian selfless activists who are responsible for what maharashtra is today..

    That list starts from Ambekar to Amate,,to Hajare.. There are thousands who are not even named..

    I run an NGO focused on issues of this state.. and to tell you frankly.. Maharashtrians have stayed in the state and took lots of efforts to make the state as the it is today.

    The intellectuals from UP/Bihar have fled.. and are simply blogging against Raj.. thats it.. No one ready to come work for their state..

    In Maharashtra we have a social base who is very practical and always working towards real problems…

    My NGO is working with very diverse regions in Maha… In Maha politicians are more connected and accountable to people than any state..

    If you think Mumbai is maharashtra then rethink again.. Maha today has 6 lakh crore GDP and out of that only 2 lakh from Mumbai.. rest from PUne/ nahik/Aurangabad/nagpur/Kolhapur…

    Who has developed these regions.. who has built the basic infra.. Industries dont run on just talks they run basic Infra..

    Today rural maha is facing huge loadshedding and power is diverted to industries.. Rural Maha is bearing the brunt and some selfish industrialists hire migrant labourers ignoring what rural maharashtra is suffering..

    Those who are talking about Imposition of Marathi.. Please visit Hyd/bang/chennai.. then say.. these cities are also not only develpoed by locals only.. but migrants there respect speak local language becasue they know they will be thrown out if they dont..

    Those dreaming about Union status to Mumbai..can only dream.. maha has and can show guts which no one can display in India.. and you will see more of that when anything like this is even attempted..

    Before writing blogs do some social research on state as well.. just giving opinions and lectures doesnt make sense.

    Rajesh..

Comments are closed.