Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Monday sought divine intervention to “save the limbs” of noted litterateur Shripal Sabnis, who last week criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sabnis, president of the upcoming 18th All India Marathi Literary Conference (AIMLC) in Pune from January 15, remarked about Modi’s stopover in Lahore and his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Livid Bharatiya Janata Party activists reacted by threatening to break Sabnis’ limbs and kill him, prompting the retired college principal to lodge a complaint with police.
On Sunday, Minister of State for Home Ram Shinde assured full protection to Sabnis and his family, now reportedly confined to his Pune home.
In an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena pointed out how Sabnis said at a college meeting that Modi was tainted by the events of Godhra, which sparked off the Gujarat riots.
“If Modi had been attacked in Pakistan, we would have been compelled to pay tributes to him before (eminent Marathi poet) Mangesh Padgaonkar (who died on December 30),” he added.
“We are opposed to this type of objectionable references to the PM… Sabnis should have stuck to clean and decent language. How can he say that Modi’s visit to Pakistan was a security risk? Similarly, the courts will decide whether or not Modi is tainted by the Godhra (incidents),” the BJP said.
“Modi returned safely from Lahore, but now we are paying condolences to Indian soldiers martyred in the Pathankot… Sabnis must consider all these things before saying anything, especially since he is the head of the literary conference,” rebuked the Sena.
Referring to the threats by BJP activists, the edit said that after the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis offered security to Pakistani ex-foreign minister Khurshid M. Kasuri and ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali, it was his (Fadnavis’) responsibility “to save Sabnis’ life and limbs now”.
The party, an ally of the BJP nationally and in Maharashtra, prayed to Goddess Jagdamba to protect Sabnis from the BJP’s wrath.