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Hate speech: MNS chief calls off stir, govt vows to protect auto drivers

Facing severe flak over his ‘burn autorickshaws of outsiders’ remark, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Friday appeared to tone down his aggressive posturing and asked party activists to halt the agitation even as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured protection to auto drivers.

Thackeray’s call to end the stir for the time being came against the backdrop of an autorickshaw being set ablaze on Char Bungalow Road in Andheri (West) by unidentified persons last night, a day after the MNS chief made an aggressive speech to mark his party’s 10th anniversary.

“Since new autorickshaws have not come on roads yet and some anti-social elements are taking undue advantage of the situation, Raj Thackeray has said that until further orders, no action should be taken by party workers,” MNS leader Shirish Sawant said. 

“These orders have to be followed strictly,” he added.

On his part, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made light of Raj’s threat, saying his government is duty-bound to protect all such auto drivers.
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