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Mukesh Machkar – editor of late Balasaheb Thackeray’s Marmik – booked for inciting hatred and violence against Brahmin women over Manipur issue: Full details

Mukesh Machkar wrote in his Facebook post, "I will give a contribution of rupees one thousand to pack Bhide, Gadgil, and Nadkarni women in a sack and send them to Manipur. Also, will give half a litre of petrol if there is any other plan!"

On Saturday, 22nd July 2023, an FIR was registered against Mukesh Machkar – editor of Marathi Cartoon Weekly Marmik – for inciting hatred and violence against Brahmin women over the recent Manipur issue. Mukesh Machkar said in his Facebook post that he would contribute money to those who pack the women with surnames Bhide, Gadgil, and Nadkarni in a sack and send them to Manipur. He also added that he will sponsor a half-litre of petrol if anyone wishes to do “something else” with them.

This FIR is filed in the Cyber Police branch of Pune City at the Alankar Police Station in the Erandwana area of Pune and it is based on the complaint filed by 35-year-old Marathi author Ashwini Kulkarni. While Mukesh Machkar represents the so-called “moral compass” of the progressive ideology of Maharashtra, it is necessary to first understand the background of the things which went on to build this controversy.

It started with the viral video of the Manipur Tragedy

On July 19 horrifying visuals of two women being stripped naked and paraded naked surfaced from Manipur. The visuals show two women being paraded naked while a group of men around them heckled them, and then being dragged into a paddy field. It was reported that the two victims were then gang-raped. It was also reported that the victims were from the Kuki community and the assailants were from the Meitei community.

A wave of condemnation spread over social media. While many people active on social media condemned the incident as a genuine response to this heinous incident, many others had their personal agenda of sieging the BJP government in the state and in the Center over this issue. They not only questioned PM Modi on this late-reported issue but also disregarded the firm resolve he showed about dealing with such crimes in his statement the next day.

While everyone condemned this heinous crime and demanded action, the Leftists and Islamists who were expressing their horror over the Manipur incident, glossed over similar incidents from West Bengal where Hindu women were raped, paraded naked and beaten up.

Mukesh Machkar particularly targeted Brahmins – and that too Brahmin women – from this clout of social media users and spewed venom against them. It is notable that Mukesh Machkar has more than 25000 followers on Facebook and holds a fairly widespread compounding impact on the opinion of the Marathi diaspora being an editor of a 63-year-old Cartoon Weekly founded by none other than Balasaheb Thackeray. Weekly Marmik served as a mouthpiece of Shiv Sena before it started a daily newspaper “Saamana”.

What did Mukesh Machkar post?

Mukesh Machkar wrote in his Facebook post, “I will give a contribution of rupees one thousand to pack Bhide, Gadgil, and Nadkarni women in a sack and send them to Manipur. Also, will give half a litre of petrol if there is any other plan!”

Notably, Bhide, Gadgil, and Nadkarni are the surnames commonly found in the Marathi Brahmin Community. Peshwas of the Maratha empire, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Veer Savarkar, and many other eminent Marathi personalities belong to this community. Nathuram Godse who shot MK Gandhi dead also comes from this community. What Mukesh Machkar incited through this post is nothing but a genocide of this community like the one witnessed by Maharashtra in 1948 after MK Gandhi’s assassination.

Facebook post by Mukesh Machkar

In this post Mukesh Machkar not only incited hatred and violence against one community, but he targeted women of the community. By ‘sending to Manipur’ he essentially meant that the women of this community deserve a similar treatment as the one received by the Kuki victims in the viral video. It therefore seems like Mukesh Machkar through this post was essentially declaring a reward of rupees 1000 for raping the women of the Brahmin community.

Mukesh Machkar is a writer and has worked in noted secular liberal media houses like Maharashtra Times. Presently. He is the editor of Weekly Marmik which was started by Balasaheb Thackeray with a tagline that read – “For Justified Rights of the Marathi People”. Mukesh Machkar incited hatred and violence against Marathi women while “decorating the editorial chair of this Weekly Marmik with his distinguished presence”.

Ashwini Kulkarni’s Complaint against Mukesh Machkar

Noted Marathi writer Ashwini Kulkarni filed a complaint against Mukesh Machkar in the Pune City Cyber Police. Ashwini Kulkarni is known for her book based on the life of Shrimant Peshwin Kashibai (श्रीमंत पेशवीण काशीबाई) – the wife of Peshwa Bajirao the First. OpIndia has secured a copy of this complaint. In her complaint, she said, “The above post was uploaded from the Facebook profile of Mukesh Machkar. Mukesh Machkar has a lot of followers as he is the executive editor of the weekly magazine Marmik. The post, which he uploaded to Facebook, has garnered a total of 751 likes, 178 comments and 18 shares so far.”

Ashwini Kulkarni further said, “A video and news of women being stripped, paraded and tortured in Manipur have gone viral on social media. This type of thing is condemnable and slanderous in nature. There is a sense of anger among all the citizens about this incident. We also condemn this practice.”

Ashwini Kulkarni added in her complaint, “However, in response to the incident in Manipur, the social media user Mukesh Machkar posted the above on his Facebook profile, expressing his hatred towards the particular community and women of that community. By making such provocative statements, he instigated people to commit violence against women of a particular surname and caste, he instigated to use petrol by putting them in sacks and posted posts with a strong possibility of promoting enmity among the classes by stifling enmity between the castes or different religions and creating enmity between them.”

Ashwini Kulkarni concluded her complaint by saying, “The response his post received shows that many people are willing to get involved in such violent activities. So, I think there is a strong possibility of a law and order problem as atrocities are being fuelled in the state along the lines of Manipur. I have a legal complaint against this Facebook profile holder, Mukesh Machkar, for posting a post that would defame these women of a particular community and would incite hatred and enmity between different castes and religions.”

The FIR against Mukesh Machkar

The Pune Police filed an FIR against Muksh Machkar on the basis of the complaint filed by writer Ashwini Kulkarni. The police have booked Mukesh Machkar under sections 153A, 500 and 505 of the IPC. OpIndia has secured a copy of this FIR.

While speaking about this case, Ashwini Kulkarni said, “We all know about the heinous incident that took place in Manipur. It tarnished humanity. We all condemned it. It is sad that a few people are using this incident for their political gains. I saw a post by Mukesh Machkar who is the editor of Marmik. This post is objectionable and low-grade. He said that women of particular surnames should be sent to Manipur and burnt with petrol. He was ready to sponsor the act. Surprisingly, many people expressing themselves in the comments below that post were ready to assist Mukesh Machkar in this activity. To protest this, I filed a complaint in the police station. It contains non-bailable sections too. As soon as Mukesh Machkar knew that someone has filed an FIR, he realised that his post was wrong. He deleted the post and shared another post of apology on his Facebook profile.”

Ashwini Kulkarni added, “But, once a post is shared, its screenshots are viral on the internet, it does not make any sense even if you apologise or delete the post. It is useless. Therefore, an action shall be taken against him. I will not take my complaint back. I want to ask that when the whole country is outraged against the incident that took place in Manipur, how can one dare to share such a post? Who gives right to Mukesh Machkar to pack those ladies in a sack and send them to Manipur? If a common man shares such a post, it can be ignored. Mukesh Machkar should have realised that being the executive editor of a popular Weekly like Marmik, he should have shared the social media posts responsibly. I urge the government and the police to take firm action against this person as soon as possible and set an example so that no one should dare again to share any such post against any woman. If anyone dares to do so again, we will file a complaint again.”

Mukesh Machkar deleted the post and furnished a meaningless apology

Mukesh Machkar deleted the post after it reached to masses. Later he issued a practically meaningless apology on his Facebook profile. He wrote, “My post in reference to some persons who have posted insensitive posts in the context of atrocities against women in Manipur has gone viral in the sense that it is a hate speech against a particular caste. That wasn’t my intention. I don’t hate any race. However, the post remained ambiguous as it simply spelt out the last name and did not explicitly mention the people involved, leading to this misunderstanding.”

Mukesh Machkar added, “In a fit of rage, I also made inflammatory comments and mis-wording. I’m sorry about that. Let me reiterate, I am not a hater of any caste or religion. I have deleted this post after noticing the mess. Nevertheless, I sincerely apologise to those whose feelings have been hurt by that post. Sorry!”

Facebook post by Mukesh Machkar

Even in the comments of this post of apology, many followers and supporters of this Mukesh Machkar were seen backing him. One of them said, “Do not apologise at all Sir. These people deserve the same. I shared the screenshots of their posts. You did not post anything wrong at all. We are with you.”

Tushar Damgude calls out the progressive liberals of Maharashtra

While digging more about the issue, OpIndia contacted Pune-based Hindu activist Tushar Damgude. He is one of the main complainants in the Bhima-Koregaon case that unearthed the urban naxals racket activated in the Elgar Parishad in 2018.

Tushar Damgude said, “Mukesh Machkar is an executive editor of an old weekly named Marmik. Marmik was started by Balasaheb Thackeray to uphold the interests of the Marathi people. I feel sad as a Marathi Manus to see that the same Marathi weekly editor is spewing venom against Marathi women who have surnames like Bhide, Nadkarni, etc. It is a day to mourn as a Marathi Manus indeed. It is high time for Uddhav Thackeray and Rashmi Thackeray to think about whether this pervert person Mukesh Machkar should be continued as an executive editor of Marmik. Marathi Manus will know the thoughts of Thackerays about Marathi people and Maharashtra from the action they take against Mukesh Machkar.”

Tushar Damgude further said, “For the past few years we have repeatedly seen that the so-called progressive liberal seculars in this country are setting up a narrative that supports violence. We all have seen what happened in America. News spread that the electoral results are not in favour of a particular group of American people. These people captured the capitol hill. They stood against their own armed forces. Some people are trying to incite this kind of situation in India. We have seen it in Manipur. Indian people stood in front of the forces. Women stripped themselves to ensure that declared rioters get a free hand. Even in the past, we have seen rumours spread saying that mosques are demolished in Tripura. It was done to incite riots across the country.”

The Mukesh Machkar incident represents an extension of the anti-social toolkit

About social media and its responsible usage Tushar Damgude said, “One should not take the use of social media so lightly. Even mainstream media should not ignore it. Why this is being done so? It is because of the upcoming elections. If Narendra Modi is voted to power once again in 2024, these people will deduce its meaning as ‘The democracy in the country is doomed. So we will take the democratic establishment of this country into our hands by acting against the state, the armed forces and by blocking the roads, etc.’ There are some people who think in this way only and propagate this thought. This is a sign of imposing anarchy here. It is a sign of inciting people to create riots and a civil war-like situation.”

Tushar Damgude further said, “It is nothing but what we call urban naxals and the fifth-generation war. It is nothing but an attempt of capturing power by making the people of the country stand against each other. These self-proclaimed liberal secular progressive people do not trust the election commission. They do not trust the judiciary. They do not trust any news channels too. they do not trust the government elected by the people of this country through a democratic electoral process. They do not trust government officers. All they want is that everyone should accept their demands and agree to their thoughts without raising any doubts or questions. If it is not agreed and accepted, they are ready to block the roads. They are ready to attack you by gathering a huge number of people. They incite the people against you by writing on various media platforms like this Mukesh Machkar did. Such incidents are repeated frequently. The government should take serious cognizance of this and act on it. There should be some restrictions on social media and news channels too. The government should send a message to the people that this country is still ruled by law and order.”

Conclusion

Marmik which once used to be Shiv Sena mouthpiece is now published by Prabodhan Prakashan. It is led by Rashmi Uddhav Thackeray. Mukesh Machkar – a left-leaning so-called progressive liberal writer in Marathi was brought on board as an executive editor during the MVA period only. This incident is seen as a manifestation of the radical ideological shift in Uddhav Thackeray’s stance. In the prime years of the 1980s the same ‘Weekly Marmik’ had stalwart journalists like Bhau Torsekar on its editorial board who despite all odds continued to be relevant and most followed Marathi journalists even in the digital era.

Mukesh Machkar’s appointment as the executive editor of the Weekly Marmik thus represents the about turn of the pro-Marathi pro-Hindu periodical and Uddhav Thackeray and Rashmi Thackeray giving a free pass to Mukesh Machkar’s pervert post against Marathi Brahmin women indicates the violent anti-Hindu inner self of the established and self-proclaimed progressive liberal secular thought leaders in contemporary Maharashtra.

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