After the police registered a case of molestation in opposition to Nationalist Congress Occasion (NCP) MLA Jitendra Awhad, the previous Minister mentioned on Monday he was resigning his legislative put up at the same time as protests in help of Mr. Awhad erupted in opposition to the ruling Shinde-Fadnavis authorities in Mumbra in Thane district.
Whereas Mr. Awhad mentioned the molestation case was “a conspiracy” to defame him publicly, the NCP and the opposite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) events decried that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Occasion (BJP) and the Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction had been stooping to a brand new degree to silence the opposition by maligning them.
The Mumbra police had registered a case round Sunday midnight in opposition to Mr. Awhad underneath Indian Penal Code (IPC) Part 354 (assault or felony drive to girl with intent to outrage her modesty), following a criticism by a girl believed to be a BJP activist.
The complainant alleged that the NCP chief had ‘pushed’ her whereas he was making approach for himself in the course of the dispersal of a crowd after an inauguration occasion the place Mr. Awhad shared stage with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
A purported clip after the flyover inauguration occasion reveals the MLA brushing the lady apart (amongst others) in an effort to clear a path for the CM’s convoy.
That is second case lodged in opposition to Mr. Awhad—a three-term member of the Mumbra-Kalwa Meeting phase—in fewer than three days. The NCP chief was arrested final Friday (and later launched on bail the subsequent day) after he and his supporters reportedly stopped the screening of a Marathi movie Har Har Mahadev at a Thane multiplex, alleging the movie grossly distorted the historical past of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Upset by the allegations, Mr. Awhad on Monday introduced on Twitter that he was resigning as MLA. “Police lodged two false complaints in opposition to me together with on costs underneath IPC 354. I’m taking resolution to resign as MLA. I’ll battle in opposition to such police atrocities in opposition to me. I can’t see the homicide of democracy with my eyes,” he tweeted.
Talking to reporters later, a visibly distraught Mr. Awhad mentioned that whereas he might confront any variety of phoney circumstances lodged in opposition to him underneath any part of the IPC, a case underneath sections 354 and 376 “had been unacceptable” to him.
“Part 354 and 376 could be very critical and I’ve no want to be tainted by them. Maharashtra goes by means of a really dangerous part politically. Three days earlier than a false case was lodged in opposition to me. However that may be a authorized battle. Right here, by lodging a case underneath part 354, they’re making an attempt to demolish my character. The allegation of molestation is unacceptable to me. Chances are you’ll even lodge homicide circumstances in opposition to me…however this defamatory clause is being wielded in such a way that it’ll decrease my social standing,” he mentioned.
Help builds for Mr. Awhad
Whereas the NCP prime brass, together with State President Jayant Patil, Chief of Opposition within the Meeting Ajit Pawar and Baramati MP Supriya Sule, tried to dissuade Mr. Awhad from resigning, protests erupted in Mumbra in his help and in opposition to the federal government.
Mr. Awhad’s spouse, Ruta Awhad, who led the protests in help of her husband in opposition to the federal government, mentioned the lady’s criticism was weird and that by her definition, each little push or shove that occurred in crowded bazaars or railway station would qualify as ‘molestation’ makes an attempt.
“If one goes to any political rally or programme and if she thinks she is a ‘contact me not’ sort, then she should not go there,” mentioned Ms. Awhad, lashing out in opposition to the complainant by saying that she had “a motive” in defaming her husband.
Safety was beefed up within the minority-dominated space as tyres had been burnt at quite a few locations, whereas retailers had been shutdown to precise solidarity with Mr. Awhad, referred to as a preferred chief in his phase.
“Jitendra Awhad is being repeatedly focused. He is an effective and delicate folks’s consultant. This can be very unlucky the extent to which politics have plummeted within the State…he mustn’t resign as resignation shouldn’t be the answer,” mentioned Ms. Sule.
She additional mentioned that in a big crowd, it was apparent there could be some jostling and that this was no motive for anybody to lodge an excessive case (secn. 354 of IPC) in opposition to Mr. Awhad.
Each Mr. Patil and Mr. Pawar rushed to Mr. Awhad’s residence to provide him succour and try to discuss him out of resigning his put up.
“Such a factor has not occurred in Maharashtra earlier than… if the opposition’s voices are being suppressed on this method simply because the federal government has modified, then it’s certainly shameful,” mentioned Mr. Pawar.
“If you happen to see the clip, it’s evident he’s simply asking her [the complainant] to go on one aspect so the CM’s convoy can transfer forward. No person is aware of who has influenced her to lodge such a criticism. We urge the police division to not less than suppose earlier than accepting such complaints in future,” mentioned Mr. Pawar, including that he could be drawing Mr. Fadnavis’ consideration instantly to this matter.
Remarking that the FIR was a “clear conspiracy” in opposition to Mr. Awhad, Mr. Pawar mentioned that CM Shinde himself should have come out and clarified there was no molestation in anyway provided that the incident occurred proper earlier than his eyes.
Mr. Awhad has already penned a resignation letter addressed to the Meeting Speaker.
Nonetheless, Mr. Pawar mentioned that the ultimate resolution on Mr. Awhad’s resignation could be taken by NCP chief Sharad Pawar and that Mr. Awhad would respect the NCP chief’s resolution.
In the meantime, stating that his authorities had by no means finished, nor meant to hold out any investigation out of any political malice, Mr. Shinde denied accusations of any political vendetta being behind the FIR in opposition to Mr. Awhad.
“The lady has filed a criticism. The police will probe as per the legislation. There isn’t any strain on them and neither is there any political vendetta behind it. The police will confirm her claims,” mentioned the CM.
The BJP hit out at Mr. Awhad’s ‘resignation antics’, with senior Girish Mahajan saying he should have extra religion within the legislation as a substitute of needlessly getting agitated. “Whether or not he needs to provide his resignation or not, that’s his affair. What’s the have to get so agitated? He must have some religion in legislation. This drama should cease,” he mentioned.