MUMBAI: After a controversy over Jain monk Muni Naypadmasagar’s campaign for the BJP in Mira-Bhayandar municipal corporation election, Shiv Sena has taken a U-turn on the issue, saying the party is not against the Jain religion. Jitendra Janawale, Shiv Sena’s former Vibhag Pramukh and secretary of Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, demanded that the ladies T-shirts printed with Navkar Mantra should be taken back from the market.
Last week, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut slammed Jain monk Muni Naypadmasagar, even equating him to controversial preacher Zakir Naik, after he released a video appealing to his followers to vote for BJP in the Mira-Bhayandar civic polls.
Sena alleged that the kind of language he used was that of a goon. However, in the video, Muni Naypadmasagar said that Mira-Bhayandar witnessed havoc during Paryushan Parv two years back. This is the time to rise up against non-violence, this election is a do-or-die situation, he said.
Reacting to it, Raut said that this victory of BJP wouldn’t be transparent. “It is a victory of ‘money’ and ‘muni’ (saint) power, and whenever there’s an election, this muni comes out, garnering support for the saffron party,” he said.
After Sanjay Raut’s attack on the monk, all Jain monks criticised Raut for his comment, and for equating Muni Naypadmasagar with Zakir Naik. The issue was trending on social media too, and Shiv Sena received backlash from the Jain community over the remark.
Jitendra Janawale is the secretary of the Bhartiya Kamgar Sena and he wrote a letter to the Santacruz police station, asking to seize the T-Shirts printed with Jain’s Navkar Mantra. “Printing religious mantras on T-shirts is an insult to the religion and the police have to take it back from the market,” he demanded in the letter.
There are ladies T-shirts and kurtis in the market, on which the Navkar Mantra has been printed. It is an insult to the religion, as the Navkar Mantra is holy for Jains. It should not be worn by humans, said Janawale in the letter.
“Shiv Sena has always respected the Jain community and Raut’s comment was not about all Jains. It was about the particular monk and his appeal for a particular party,” he said.
BJP Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar said that the Shiv Sena is in damage control mode now. “The Shiv Sena and Sanjay Raut have now realised that it was a mistake and they may have to pay for it in the next election. So now, they are taking a U-turn and doing this,” said Shelar.