Known for its moral policing and conservative stand against the “westernisation” of celebrations, the Shiv Sena seems to have done a U-turn.
Its young leader and grandson of the late Bal Thackeray, Aditya, has criticised the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai police for setting a time limit for New Year celebrations on December 31, calling the measure “foolish.”
“Killing people’s celebrations, businesses and now interfering in personal lives, this isn’t governance,” he said on a social networking site, asking the government not to tone down the festivities.
In a recent circular, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh asked hotels and pubs to close by 1.30 a.m. This, he said, was to avoid eve-teasing and molestation. The neighbouring cities of Thane and Navi Mumbai have also invoked a time limit for New Year celebrations.
Mr. Thackeray said ‘curbing legal celebrations will only give rise to illegal ones, which is far worse.’
“Curbing New Year celebrations at 1.30 AM is outright foolish. This is one night everyone celebrates together, around the world, hoping for a better year,” he told The Hindu.
He however, denied that his stand on New Year celebrations was against the party’s position all these years. “Government cannot curtail New Year celebrations in this manner, at a time when people go out with their families to celebrate,” he maintained.
The President of Sena’s youth wing, Mr. Thackeray had recently made a proposal to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to keep eateries in the city open 24 hours. The move, as he said, was made to make night life in the city more ‘vibrant.’
Apart from the Sena, AHAR, the representative body of Hotel owners are also opposing the government decision and have moved the Bombay High Court.
“The orders were issued at the last minute. We have made our preparations and have invested a lot of money. We have absolutely no clue why this decision was taken,” said Arvind Shetty, President, AHAR. The court will be hearing the petition on Tuesday morning.