After Congress leader Varsha Gaikwad and BJP's Shaina NC complained of receiving lewd messages and threats, more women legislators in Maharashtra are complaining of similar harassment.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and MLC Vidya Chavan lodged a complaint with the Vile Parle police after she received lewd messages. "I had received the message on the night of February 21. The person had sent a lewd and obscene message. I complained to the local police. I am thankful that the culprit was nabbed," Chavan said.
The disturbing trend has sent the alarm bells ringing in the government. Maharashtra's Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde said sending lewd message is a crime and the "senders should keep in mind that the cyber police is watching them".
HERE IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE DISTURBING TREND:
- Former Maharashtra minister and Congress MLA from Dharavi Varsha Gaikwad had filed a complaint with the Mumbai Police after she received obscene messages on her phone. "If a former minister like me is victimised what about other women," she said.
- BJP leader and fashion designer Shaina NC also approached the police to complain against a stalker who was harassing her by sending vulgar messages.
- Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe also received threatening and abusive messages. The police traced the number and arrested the sender.
- "Some people do not like the way we raise questions on the floor of the House... and with a sick mentality they try to threaten us like this... I have a strong feeling that there is a racket that is operational behind these messages and this should be probed," said Sena leader Gorhe.
- Praniti Shinde, MLA from Solapur and daughter of former union minister Sushilkumar Shinde, received similar threats six months ago. She filed a complaint with the police and the accused was arrested.
- "I too received obscene messages. I initially chose to ignore them but then I realised that staying silence is not going to help. It is sad that women legislators are targeted like this, imagine the plight of girls and women," Praniti Shinde said.
- Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil said that his department has taken cognisance of these complaints and promised strict action against culprits. "It is a serious issue and the cyber cell will track the culprits," Patil told reporters outside the state Assembly.