The Shiv Sena targeted former ally BJP on Thursday over Delhi Police's "inhuman" lathicharge on JNU students protesting the recent hostel fee hike. In a searing editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena, which is close to forming the government in Maharashtra after forming an unlikely alliance with the NCP and the Congress, claimed the BJP would have launched vociferous protests against the cops' actions had the Congress been in power at the centre during the JNU protest.
"The lathicharge on JNU students in Delhi was inhuman... The BJP would have created a ruckus in Parliament and organisations like ABVP would have given a call for nationwide bandh had such an incident taken place during the Congress rule," the Sena raged.
"The police force which thrashes visually-challenged (students) cannot be servants of people and protectors of law. Do not trample down at least the students. No government should run amok in this manner," the editorial continued.
The piece also asked why the concerned union minister did not reach out to the students early on to avoid the violence.
On Monday hundreds of JNU students took to the streets in Delhi chanting anti-fee hike slogans and carrying placards and posters as they marched on parliament. The students' body said the march was a "way to appeal to lawmakers to fight on our behalf inside the floor of the house".
Cops and students clashed as the latter tried to climb barricades, resulting in a lathicharge by the police and allegations of brutality and abuse by students. One of the allegations levelled against Delhi Police was that an officer had thrashed a blind student.
Delhi Police has denied the allegations and, in turn, filed FIRs under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including "rioting, armed with deadly weapons".
A founding member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Shiv Sena was moved to the opposition benches of the Rajya Sabha after a breakdown in relations with the BJP in Maharashtra.
The Sena and the BJP fought last month's polls together and emerged with 161 seats in the 288-member house but fell out after a bitter dispute over allocation of portfolios and sharing of the Chief Minister's post. The Sena then opened talks with the opposition alliance and, according to sources, the Sena-Congress-NCP may form the government this weekend.
However, the Sena also had words of caution for the JNU student community, urging them to maintain discipline in the face of adversity. Nobody will support them if they crossed barricades during protests, the editorial said.