MUMBAI: India’s far-right political party, Shiv Sena, which has recently been in the headlines for its threats to Pakistani nationals in India, said on Wednesday it will welcome Pakistan’s Nobel Laureate Malala Yousufzai “if she ever flies to India,” Times of India reported.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, while speaking to media personnel in Mumbai, said his message to all peacemakers in India is that his party always lauded the young activist’s efforts against terrorism in Pakistan and if she ever decides to visit India, Shiv Sena would welcome her.
“Malala stands for peace and has won the Nobel peace prize for the same while people like Kasuri and Hafiz Saeed (JuD chief) spread hate and violence against India,” said Raut.
The Shiv Sena leader added that welcoming Malala will boost the impression that it is terrorism that Shiv Sena detests and that terrorism shall be crushed with an iron hand.
Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 jointly with India’s Kailash Satyarthi for promoting education rights for children.
The 18-year-old was flown to Britain in 2012 for hospital treatment after being shot on a school bus in Swat Valley. She now lives permanently in Birmingham, central England, with her family and attends an all-girls school.
Just two days ago, Shiv Sena activists attacked the Mumbai headquarters of the office Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) just before Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan was to meet BCCI chief Shashank Manohar to discuss a bilateral series in December.
The activists shouted anti-Pakistan slogans and held posters that read ‘Shahryar Khan go back’, determined to stop Manohar from meeting his Pakistani counterpart. The protesters entered Manohar’s office and crowded around his desk, shouting slogans.
The meeting was cancelled after the incident.
Earlier this month, Shiv Sena activists attacked Sudheendra Kulkarni, who organised a book launch in Mumbai for former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.
The group was also accused of using threats to force the cancellation of an appearance in Mumbai by Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali.
Shiv Sena, founded by the late Bal Thackeray, has in the past threatened Pakistani athletes to deter them from engaging in competitive sports in India.
Thackeray often referred to Indian Muslims as “anti-nationals” and called for Hindu suicide squads to counter what he saw as a rise in ‘Islamic terrorism’.