Looking to put an end to the cartoon controversy that left the party politically isolated, as well as assuage the party’s own cadre from the Maratha community, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday apologised for hurting sentiments of the Marathas, especially women from the community.
Thackeray said the intention of the cartoon published in the party’s mouthpiece, Saamna, on Sunday was not to hurt anyone, and apologised in the capacity of Saamana’s editor.
The contentious cartoon was a three-paneled caricature published in a Saamana supplement last Sunday. The caricature lampooned the ongoing Maratha protests, playing on the words ‘muk morcha’ (silent protests) as ‘muka morcha’ or kissing protests. The Marathas, who constitute 32 per cent of Maharashtra’s population, have been protesting for reservations in government jobs and education and amendments to the atrocities act, alleging its misuse.
“The entire episode has deeply hurt us. Although the atmosphere has now cooled down, my mind has not. Any person who disrespects a woman can never be a Shiv Sainik. I am expressing these feelings today remembering my own mother,” Thackeray said, addressing a press conference with senior Sena leaders Subhash Desai, Diwakar Raote and Sada Sarvankar. Samana’s executive editor, Sanjay Raut, was not present.