A case has been registered against Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad's unidentified supporters and policemen after a man alleged that he was beaten up at Awhad's Thane residence over a Facebook post.
Opposition BJP demanded on Wednesday, 8 April, that the NCP leader be sacked from the Uddhav Thackeray-led government.
On the complaint of 40-year-old Anant Karmuse, the victim, a case of assault, kidnapping and criminal intimidation was registered at Vartak Nagar police station in Thane city on Tuesday, 7 April, said Deputy Commissioner of Police Avinash Ambure.
“The FIR did not identify any of the accused. The probe was on but nobody had been arrested,” the DCP said.
The 40-year-old civil engineer in Thane had claimed that policemen took him to NCP Minister Awhad's bungalow instead of the police station, where the minister's men thrashed him for posting a morphed photo.
Beaten With Stick in Front of the Minister
The victim, in a police complaint, also alleged that he was beaten with a bamboo stick and belt in front of the minister.
The alleged incident took place on Sunday, 5 April, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked people to light diyas or torch to show a 'collective resolve' against coronavirus.
Anant Karmuse, a resident of Ghodbunder, had posted a photo morphed with Awhad’s face and a lit-up match stick with a caption, “I protest against the person who has edited the photo.”
"On Sunday night, two policemen came to my house and said that they wanted to take me to the police station as their superior wanted to enquire about some case," he said.
Karmuse said that the policemen then took him to Awhad's bungalow.
“Upon reaching there, 10 to 15 men were already present, the security guard informed the minister and soon those men started beating me. They thrashed me with lathis, belt, and bamboos after the stick broke,” he said.
Oppn Demands NCP Minister’s Removal
Awhad took to Twitter, posting a screenshot of a photo that was morphed and said, "Do you support this pervert. Will you tolerate this done against you or your family member. I don't support lawlessness.(sic)"
Leader of opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday demanded removal of Awhad from the state cabinet for the alleged assault on the engineer.
"“This is a serious incident where private bodyguards of a minister beat up a civilian by bringing him to his home. The minister was present when the man was being thrashed,”" - BJP Leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
BJP MLC Niranjan Davkhare said that the man was beaten up brutally and no action was taken against Awhad's 'goons'.
Davkhare said Karmuse was beaten up by Awhad's men in the presence of the minister at his bungalow.
BJP vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said he has taken up the matter with the Thane police chief and sought action against those involved in the alleged assault.
“I spoke to the Thane police commissioner over phone from Delhi about this extraordinary aggravating factor in Thane. The police have promised action, but the critical point is that those who should be guarding the law are taking law into their hands,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
He tweeted that he also spoke to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on this issue.
Awhad Alleges Threat on Twitter
Awhad, on Wednesday, shared screen shots of tweets where some persons had threatened that he would be killed like rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune in 2013, allegedly by followers of a right-wing Hindu group.
Another Twitter user even threatened to sexually abuse his daughter, Awhad said, adding that he and his family were the target of such threats and trolling for the last five years.
BJP MP Somaiya Claims Arrest by Cops
Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya on Wednesday claimed that Mumbai Police arrested him from his residence in Mumbai as he was planning to visit Anant Karmuse.
"Police has arrested me from my residential premises/Office from Nilam Nagar Mulund, and now taken to Mulund East navghar police station," Somaiya twitted from his handle @KiritSomaiya.
Earlier, he said that he was being detained at his residence.
"It is pity that Mumbai police has detained me at my residential premises (Nilamnagar Mulund) and stopped me from going to the residence of Anant Karmuse, whom Jitendra Awhad's men has beaten yesterday, I am supposed to meet Anant Karmuse today at 11 am," he said.
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