27 January, 2021

March Of The Sena

March Of The Sena
IT was Friday night and Hutatma Chowk in town wore a deserted look. Suddenly 200 Shiv Sainiks appeared and began blackening the English signboards of important banking and corporate establishments. They called it a clandestine operation. Mumbaiites were reminded of similar, earlier 'black' weekdays of the pre-alliance-government days.

It took less than an hour to tar Hongkong Bank, uti Bank, New India Cooperative Bank, the plush Bombay Store and the state-run Kashmir Arts Emporium. Security guards stood speechless as the entire stretch from DN Road to the Jehangir Art gallery was taken over by a sweaty, swearing, slightly-drenched and gloomy goon/political brigade.

The Sainiks broke the law in the name of the 1961 Shops and Establishment Act, which makes it mandatory for establishments to have Marathi signboards. It, however, allows the use of other languages. Bal Thackeray's army is now threatening Tata Memorial Hospital for its 'anti-Maratha' discriminatory policy.

Does this denote a resurgent saffron paranoia? That would have been less...



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