The Pune Rural Police has filed an FIR against unidentified persons in connection with an alleged objectionable tweet about the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar.
The FIR was filed at Baramati Taluka Police station based on the complaint registered by one Abhijit Bhanudas Jadhav, an NCP functionary. A police officer privy to the details of the case revealed that the complainant had approached the police station over an objectionable tweet posted by a user after Sharad Pawar’s recent press conference and about a reply to that tweet.
“The content in both the tweet and reply is of objectionable nature. We have launched a probe into these accounts,” said the police officer as quoted by The Indian Express. The FIR was filed under Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes.
According to BJP leader Suresh Nakhua, social media user Vedashree is one of the persons against whom the FIR is lodged. Vedashree had quoted a tweet posted by columnist Shefali Vaidya in which she had mocked Sharad Pawar after he was caught like a deer in a headlight when journalists questioned him about Deshmukh attending a press conference while being in hospital.
Vedashree had tweeted, “Look at his frustration, as if he has been made to sit on a hot pan…thoroughly enjoyed it.” It is also alleged that the other person against whom the complaint is lodged by the NCP functionary could be author Shefali Vaidya, who has been a vocal critic of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. However, it is not certain Ms Vaidya has been named in the complaint.
Quoting the video of Sharad Pawar’s press conference where he was confronted with conflicting facts about Anil Deshmukh, Ms Vaidya had posted a tweet asking how much is he going to lie.
Social media users raise questions after facts do not add up with Sharad Pawar’s claims
After former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh alleged that tainted police officer Sachin Vaze had a meeting with Anil Deshmukh wherein he was asked by the Home Minister to extort money from business owners in Mumbai, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had come in the defence of Deshmukh, alleging that he was in the hospital from February 6-16 and was later under quarantine from February 16 to 27.
Addressing the media amid a political storm over former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s corruption allegations against the home minister, Pawar said, “Anil Deshmukh was in the hospital from February 5 to 15 and from February 15 to 27, he was in home isolation in Nagpur.”
Pawar was caught off-guard when the journalists told him that Deshmukh had attended a press conference during the said time period. During the press conference, when journalists and reporters informed the NCP chief that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had organised a press conference on February 15 and that he was not in a hospital, Pawar appeared baffled as he reiterated his statement that Deshmukh was hospitalised during the said period. Pawar then went on to chastise the reporters for diverting the issue.
Several other discrepancies were also highlighted by social media users, further raising questions over the veracity of claims made by Sharad Pawar in the press conference.
Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s appallingly low tolerance to dissent and its penchant for suppressing Freedom of Expression
Ever since the Maha Vikas Aghadi came to power in Maharashtra, it has displayed little tolerance for criticism and dissenting views. Freedom of Expression of citizens has been suppressed as the politicians have demonstrated eager alacrity to prosecute people for criticising and mocking them. Those who have dared to raise their voice against the government and their leaders have been attacked and assaulted. Complaints have been filed against them so they can be legally prosecuted.
Recently, in a despicable incident, Shiv Sena goons assaulted a senior citizen for allegedly criticising Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The video was uploaded by one Prashant Jagtap, who identifies as ‘Shivsainik’ and handles the party’s social media. In the said clip, the goons could be seen surrounding the victim from all sides and blackening his face with ink. The victim has been identified as Shirish Katekar, who is an RSS Swayamsevak from Pandharpur in Maharashtra.
In September 2020, a Navy officer was assaulted by Shiv Sena goons in Maharashtra for sharing a cartoon on WhatsApp. The WhatsApp forward was allegedly a satirical cartoon featuring Uddhav Thackeray and his allies Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi government also went to great lengths to prosecute social media users Sameet Thakkar and Sunaina Holey for making seemingly innocuous remarks that raised the hackles of the Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders.
In 2019, just after the Maha Vikas Aghadi government came to power in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena goons beat up a man and tonsured his head for criticising Uddhav Thackeray.