Shiv Sena who once opposed South Indians advocates inclusion of Tamil Hindu refugees in CAB

With time, Shiv Sena’s politics has changed from opposition South Indians in Maharashtra towards advocating the Hindutva ideology. Therefore, it is not surprising to see Shiv Sena advocating for Tamil ‘Hindus’.


Shiv Sena in Rajya Sabha attacked its former ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the discussion on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) and staged a walkout ahead of the voting.

The CAB will provide citizenship to persecuted minorities - Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis - who got into India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 

Sena took a U-turn after Congress put pressure ahead of the CAB debate in Rajya Sabha.  It was learned that Congress might pull out of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra if Sena had backed the bill in Rajya Sabha. 

In Lok Sabha, Shiv Sena had supported the CAB as 18 of their MPs voted in favour of the bill. Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday introduced the CAB and the bill was passed after midnight voting. Later on Wednesday, in Rajya Sabha, the CAB was passed after intense debate.

The opposition has labelled the CAB as “unconstitutional” stating that the bill violates Article 14 of the Indian constitution. Moreover, the criticism largely focuses on the exclusion of Muslims community in the CAB.  

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday pointed out that the bill doesn’t have any provisions for Tamil Hindu refugees from Sri Lanka. However, along with him, public figures including Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Kamal Hassan have highlighted the struggle of Tamil Hindus refugees who escaped the persecution in Sri Lanka. 

Shiv Sena's campaign against South Indians

It is interesting to note that Shiv Sena which once ran a campaign against South Indians, especially Tamils, in Maharashtra is now highlighting the plight of Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka.

In the inception, Shiv Sena’s politics relied on opposing the South Indians taking away the government jobs from locals. During the 1960s and 70s, the South Indians occupied jobs in Mumbai and government spaces which led to resentment among the local Marathi-speaking population.  

In one of his speeches, Shiv Sena founder Uddhav Thackeray had given a slogan: “Uthao Lungi, Bajao Pungi”. This slogan is an insulting reference to the traditional dress of South Indians. The campaign against South Indians in Maharashtra is well documented in Bal Thackeray’s biopic starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

The first manifesto of Shiv Sena in the year 1966 was completely against the presence of South Indians in Mumbai and Maharashtra. 

Change in Sena's politics

However, with time, Sena’s politics has changed and has moved strongly towards the Hindutva ideology. Therefore, it is not surprising to see Shiv Sena advocating for Tamil ‘Hindus’. 

Earlier in 2016, Shiv Sena had also extended support to a political group in Sri Lanka – Siva Senai. The outfit protects the interests of Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka and opposes conversion to Buddhism. To lure voters from South India, Shiv Sena MLA Aditya Thackeray sported a 'lungi' while campaigning for the assembly elections which held in October this year.

Sena's politics is moving beyond the linguistic aspect and ideology of 'sons of the soil'. To promote Thackeray for the assembly polls, Sena put up posters of him which read: "Hello Worli". Apart from Hindi, Marathi and English - the poster read in Urdu, Gujarati as well. 

Also Read - Citizenship Amendment Bill: Shiv Sena Stages Walkout In Rajya Sabha

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