Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers during a rally in Mumbai in February 2020 | ANI File Photo
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers during a rally in Mumbai in February 2020 | ANI File Photo

Mumbai: Returning to its belligerent pro-Marathi agenda, members of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Friday vandalised offices and godowns of e-commerce retailer Amazon for failing to provide a Marathi language option on its app and taking the party to court.

Raising slogans against the e-retailer, MNS workers attacked Amazon’s offices and godowns in Pune’s Kondhwa and Mumbai’s Chandivli areas. The attack comes a day after a Mumbai court issued notice to Thackeray, directing him to be present before it on 5 January while hearing Amazon’s plea against the political party. Amazon had approached the court, alleging that its posters were torn by MNS workers.

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Santosh Dhuri, an MNS functionary, told ThePrint, “Our party workers targeted offices of Amazon. There is a lot of anger over a notice being issued to Rajsaheb asking him to be present in court. Officials of Amazon are not even willing to speak or discuss our demand of including Marathi in their app. They directly went to court.”


Also read: Shiv Sena, MNS threaten to stop Bigg Boss over ‘anti-Marathi’ comments, Viacom18 apologises


The MNS-Amazon conflict

The conflict started in October when MNS leader Akhil Chitre threatened to agitate against e-commerce companies such as Flipkart and Amazon for not including Marathi as a language option on their apps.

“Following Chitre’s letter to Amazon, the company’s representatives had a meeting with MNS leaders assuring them that they are working on introducing the Marathi language option on the Amazon app. But, they did nothing about it later and instead filed cases against us in court. Our party workers are enraged,” an MNS leader said.

Earlier this month, the party launched a ‘No Marathi, No Amazon’ campaign, putting up posters threatening to ban the company if it did not comply. Following this, Amazon India took MNS to court.

On Tuesday, Chitre shot off a letter to Amazon, addressing it to Jeff Bezos, founder-CEO of Amazon, saying, “We have no intention to get into a legal tussle with Amazon, but for our mother tongue, we as Maharashtrians can go up to any extent. The agitation on social media platforms (#NoMarathi_NoAmazon) as well as on the ground is just the tip of the iceberg. So I hereby sincerely once again with folded hands request you to intervene in this matter…”

According to reports, Flipkart has now introduced a Marathi language option on its app.


Also read: ‘Where’s Maharashtra dharma?’ — Raj Thackeray silence on Kangana row sparks discontent in MNS


MNS politics over local language

With the 2022 Mumbai civic body polls drawing closer, the MNS has been increasingly highlighting its political agenda of pushing the Marathi language over the past few months.

Party insiders say, with the Shiv Sena having allied with former rivals Congress and Nationalist Congress Party under the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) umbrella, its hardcore Marathi Hindutva voter base could be a bit disillusioned. The MNS is looking to tap into this resentment to swing the ‘sons of the soil’ and anti-Congress votes in its favour.

In October, a few party functionaries reportedly beat up a jeweller in South Mumbai’s Colaba for refusing to speak to author Shobha Deshpande in Marathi.

The MNS had also sent a letter to Disney Hotstar to make the Indian Premier League commentary available in Marathi.


Also read: NCP aide, Modi backer, now Mumbai’s ‘Godfather’ — the political gymnastics of Raj Thackeray


 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Why protest means to destroy or vandalised every things I don’t understand. This is the first and foremost reason the foreign countries don’t want to invest in our country. I would request all to cgange the practice of protest.

  2. Whether it is workers vandalising Wistron factory or farmers in Punjab switching off mobile towers or MNS goondaism against Amazon, it shows Indian people have scant respect for rule of law and like to take law into their Own hands. The largest and most uncivilised democracy…

  3. These goons will forever be like this, If they got so much attachment with being a Maharashtrian they would have never harmed anyone!

  4. Its Very simple , its a fundraising exercise for mns. In crude language its called extortion. First create an issue, do vandallism, then reach a settlement with the aggrieved for some crores. Sometimes its toll booth, taxi associations, amazon, its a big list.

  5. Marathi is not an official language in India and is a dead language especially in Mumbai. I have never ever experienced anyone in Mumbai talking in marathi

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