Mumbai, Feb.2: Unfazed by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s attack on him, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday maintained that India is for Indians and hailed the sacrifice of NSG commandos including those from Maharashtra in 26/11 attacks.
"In Mumbai (during the terror attacks), men in the NSG were from Bihar, UP, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra. At that time they (Sena) did not say that those from Bihar and UP should be taken out. India has to move forward and all have to be taken forward," he said addressing a press conference in Patna.
Asked about the statement of Thackeray in Sena mouthpiece Saamna that he had insulted 26/11 martyrs by only recognising the sacrifice of soldiers from UP and Bihar, Gandhi said, "India belongs to Indians. Every part of India belongs to every Indian. I am not interested in the views of Bal Thackeray or (MNS chief) Raj Thackeray.
"People have a right to go anywhere. I am not going to remain silent and stop people of UP and Bihar from going to Maharashtra," the 39-year-old Congress General Secretary said.
Making it clear that he was totally against the campaign that UPiites and Biharis had no place in Maharashtra, Gandhi said, "Those who indulge in violence will be dealt with strictly by the Maharashtra Government.
"Strict action will be taken and action is being taken," the Congress leader said.
Meanwhile, Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray said that "Rahul Gandhi has insulted the bravery of martyrs like Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, Tukaram Omble, all daring Marathi policemen, and NSG Major Sandeep Unnikrishan.
"Where was Rahul Gandhi when Mumbai was attacked," Uddhav asked, adding that he condemned the anti-Marathi statement of the Congress leader.
The AICC General Secretary had on Monday flayed Shiv Sena and the MNS for their constant tirade against people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh reminding them that the NSG men who vanquished terrorists during 26/11 were also from the two states and other places.