Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday, 17 April, said that stoking communal fires in the name of Lord Ram was an "insult to the idea of Shri Ram".
Writing in his weekly column Rokhthok in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of adopting a strategy of sowing religious discord to win elections, which had the potential of breaking the country.
"If someone wants to stoke the fire of fundamentalism and disturb the peace to win elections, they are sowing seeds of a second Partition", wrote Raut, the executive editor of Saamana.
Talking about the communal clashes in various parts of the country on Ram Navami on 10 April, Raut said, "Earlier, Ram Navami processions were all about culture and religion. But now swords are brandished, and communal discord is created. Ruckus was created outside mosques resulting in violence."
Raut also termed the attacks on the processions during Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti as "politically sponsored".
"In Maharashtra too, a Hindu Owaisi made all efforts to spoil the peace on Hanuman Jayanti," he was quoted as saying, reported PTI. "Concerted efforts were made to create disturbances in Maharashtra, but people and the police are patient and strong."
'This Can't Be Called Hindutva': Raut
Taking a swipe at the BJP, Raut said those who abandoned the Ram Mandir movement midway are brandishing swords in the name of Lord Ram.
"This cannot be called Hindutva. Stoking communal fires in the name of Lord Ram is an insult to the idea of Ram," he said.
He also said that even Lord Ram would be restless over the developments in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone, where communal clashes on Ram Navami had led to the imposition of curfew.
Raut informed that cultural processions had been taken out in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, on Gudhi Padwa on 2 April, and the same passed through Muslim localities. However, no violence took place in the said areas.
"There was no violence. Why should all the violence happen on Ram Navami? Can anyone believe Muslims will hurl stones at a Ram Navami procession in Gujarat, the home state of PM Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah?" he asked, referring to violence in Sabarkantha.
Accuses MNS' Raj Thackeray of Implementing BJP's Agenda
He also accused Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray of implementing the BJP's agenda.
"The issue of loudspeakers atop mosques could have been discussed with the government," he said. "But the intention was to create a law and order situation to fulfil BJP's wish for imposing the president's rule in the state."
Raj Thackeray had recently said that if the Maharashtra government failed to remove loudspeakers atop mosques by 3 May, Hanuman Chalisa would be played at a higher volume outside mosques. The MNS chief also asked for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in the country and law to curb the population growth.
Non-BJP CMs Likely To Meet in Mumbai To Discuss Country's Political Situation
Meanwhile, Raut said that non-BJP chief ministers (CMs) are likely to meet in Mumbai to discuss the country's political situation. However, he did not reveal the date of the meeting.
He also said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written to the non-BJP states, asking their CMs to participate in the meeting.
"NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) president Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray have discussed this and efforts are on to hold such a conference in Mumbai," Raut said, PTI reported.
His statement comes a day after leaders of 13 opposition parties issued a joint statement condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on the recent communal clashes in several states of the country.
The opposition leaders condemned the targeted violence against Muslims and said that hate speeches against the community had increased in the country.
About Khargone Violence
A day after communal clashes erupted in Khargone on Ram Navami, the district administration demolished at least 16 houses and 29 shops, mostly owned by members of the Muslim community, citing their involvement in stone pelting and clashes.
As many as 77 people were arrested in the city with regard to the case.
Apart from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, communal clashes were also reported from Jharkhand and West Bengal during celebrations of the Hindu festival on 10 April.
(With inputs from PTI.)