"We have to decide now... enough of this 'secular' stuff. The only option left is to declare India a 'Hindu Rashtra' if attacks on Hindus have to be prevented," Thackeray said in his annual birthday eve interview.

The first of the three-part interview was published on Sunday in the party mouthpieces Saamana (Marathi) and Dopaharka Saamana (Hindi) ahead of his 56th birthday on July 27. Thackeray was speaking to the dailies' Executive Editor and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.

The Sena chief said, "If speaking about Hindutva is a crime, at least shed the false pretensions of secularism -- as the country is now stuck between the two (Hindutva and secularism)."

“When Hindus are being targeted and attacked, where are these secularists? What about the Sanatan Sanstha, which is being crushed like a snake? We don't support them, but let the truth about the Sanatan Sanstha come out once and for all. Merely talking and labelling them will not serve the cause of justice," Thackeray said.

Persons linked to the Sanstha have been accused of involvement in the murder of rationalist and author Narendra Achyut Dabholkar in 2013 and left-wing author Govind Pansare in 2015.

He agreed with Raut that attempts are being to decimate Hindutva groups in the country, which he termed "strange". "The Hindus are in a majority, yet they are subjected to atrocities. They elected this government with the hope and confidence of improving their lot, but the same old story as before (Congress rule) continues," Thackeray said.

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