Mumbai: On Tuesday, a court issued an arrest warrant against Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, party leader Sanjay Raut, and cartoonist Shrinivas Prabhudesai in connection with a case filed by the Maratha community leaders against a cartoon published in the party mouthpiece Saamana in 2016. The warrant was issued by a court at Pusad in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district. The cartoon, which was published in September 2016, had mocked the Muk Morcha (silent protest) by Maratha agitators as Mooka Morcha (kiss protest).
The cartoon had reportedly created quite a stir and controversy during the time t was published. The Hindustan Times had reported that the cartoon had riled even some senior leaders from the Sena fold who belonged to the Maratha (Kshatriya) community. HT had cited party sources while reporting that Shiv Sena MP Prataprao Jadhav, MLAs Sanjay Raimulkar and Shashikant Khedekar, from the Buldhana district, had met senior ministers to express discontent. Many aggrieved Maratha leaders from various parties had called the cartoon as an insult to not just Marathas but women as well.
In damage-control mode, Saamana carried a front-page news article about the Marathi Kranti Morcha, condemning the protests against the cartoon in a press conference in Thane. Alongside the article, Saamana had also published a column saying there was no question of the party hurting the feelings of the Maratha community, reported HT. Quoting its editor Sanjay Raut, the Saamna column said the Maratha protests are not political, but sentimental, and there is no question of hurting the sentiments that Shiv Sena was in support of.