MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena on Monday demanded that Muslims who oppose the singing of "Vande Mataram" should be treated as "anti-nationals" and "disenfranchised".
Protesting against the ruckus inside the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Saturday on the issue of "Vande Mataram", the party said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed his ire against cow vigilantes (Gaurashaks) indulging in violence.
Even Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray, was punished for campaigning in the name of Hindutva, it said in an editorial in the party mouthpieces Saamana and Dopahar Ka Saamana.
"We feel that opposing or insulting 'Vande Mataram' is an equally serious crime and those indulging in it must be 'disenfranchised'. Do you have the guts to do this?" the Sena asked.
Dwelling on the Aurangabad incident, it criticised the manner in which three corporators of the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM - Shaikh Samina, Syed Mateen and Sheikh Zafar - remained seated during the rendition of the "Vande Mataram".
"The Shiv Sena corporators exploded in rage at this insult and hammered these opponents of 'Vande Mataram'. Fortunately, even the Bharatiya Janata Party corporators supported us in this nationalistic duty," the Sena noted.
"It is these very leaders who are pushing their community into the cesspool of false beliefs and 'murdering' Islam. Islam is in danger due to their depraved minds," the Sena said.
"It is the government's responsibility to 'crush' them. The Shiv Sena has initiated this in the AMC," the editorial said.
It was shocking that some Muslim leaders have become so arrogant that they go to the extent of saying that they do not mind being thrown out of India but they would not sing "Vande Mataram", it pointed out.
"When the government can come down sternly on cow vigilantes, those opposing 'Vande Mataram' also need to be dealt with equally strongly," it said.
"Any opposition to it must be considered 'anti-national' and the voting rights of such people should be cancelled," it said.