Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Saturday that his party was firmly in support of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), and Maharashtra's "lesson" to the country was "don't be afraid".
Mr Raut was speaking at a meeting on the controversial legislation here, organized by the Jamaat e-Islamic Hind and Association for Protection of Civil Rights.
"My party is firmly in support of anti-CAA protests," he said. Claiming that the BJP was yet to come to terms with its loss of power in Maharashtra, Mr Raut said, "They are still in grief, and we should give them more grief.
"Daro mat" (don''t be afraid) is the lesson Maharashtra has taught the country," he said, apparently referring to Sena's decision to cut the ties with the BJP and form the government with the Congress and NCP in the state.
"Maharashtra has shown the way to the country," he added.
"The country is our religion. We all should be united, and this is what they (the BJP) are afraid of," he said.
Bal Thackeray was known as a champion of Hindus, but the late Sena founder believed that this country belongs to all, Mr Raut said.
"Balasaheb never said Muslims should be thrown out. He stood up against traitors," Mr Raut said, adding that Mr Thackeray had many Muslim friends.
He also pointed out that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was the first in the country to criticize the police firing on students protesting against the CAA in Delhi.
"When students are fired upon, the country and democracy are in danger," Mr Raut said.
Criticizing Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Mr Raut said, "The home minister says the Congress could not stop Partition on religious lines. If that is so, where were you then?"
Mr Raut also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for often accusing opposition leaders of "speaking the language of Pakistan". "This divide and rule'' policy is dangerous," he said.