Ahmednagar (Maharashtra): Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, whose arrest has been demanded by several political parties, has justified the attacks on north Indians by his party activists. The Maharashtra government does not understand the language of non-violence any more, he has said.

“The State’s rulers do not understand the language of fasting and ‘dharna.’ So we have to adopt those means which will make them understand our demands,” Mr. Thackeray said at a gathering at Sangamner, 85 kilometres from here, on Sunday.

“The British who understood the language of non-violence left long back. But the present rulers have become thick skinned and are completely insensitive towards the sentiments of the people.”

Mr. Thackeray, who was on his way to Pune, met MNS workers who are on a relay-fast for the last 18 days to highlight several issues, including corruption. He advised them not to waste their time sitting on a fast. “Press your demands in such a way that they would have no alternative but to accept your demands,” he said. “The government has no concern whether you live or die. They need you only on the voting day for a couple of hours.”

MNS activists went on the rampage on Sunday, attacking 13 railway board examination centres in suburban Mumbai to protest against the “inadequate representation” of locals. The violence drew angry reaction from Railway Minister Lalu Yadav who demanded a ban on the MNS and called Mr. Thackeray a “mental case.”

Mr. Thackeray dared the Maharashtra government to arrest him and warned that the State would have to “regret” the consequences.

“Arrest me and be ready to suffer the consequences.... you will have to regret,” Mr. Thackeray, who was attending a ceremony at Bahadursheikh Naka, in Chiplun, said on Monday. “If Raj is arrested, entire Maharashtra will be set on fire,” he said.

Mr. Thackeray said the MNS took the step against candidates appearing for railway recruitment exams as it was a planned operation by north Indians. Advertisements for these exams were given in February and were being conducted now under a plan designed for north Indians. These advertisements were never published in Marathi newspapers, he said.

Mr. Thackeray, who is touring the Konkan region, asked people not to sell land to non-Maharashtrians. These people had created a vote bank by purchasing land in Konkan, he said. — PTI