A 62-year-old Navy veteran, Madan Sharma, was thrashed by Shiv Sena workers after he forwarded a "derogatory" cartoon on Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday. The incident took place in Lokhandwala Complex area in suburban Kandivali.
After the incident, Opposition leaders including former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis slammed Uddhav Thackeray-led government's "Gunda Raj" and said, "An extremely sad and shocking incident. A retired naval officer got beaten up by goons because of just a Whatsapp forward. Please stop this GundaRaj Hon Uddhav Thackeray ji. We demand strong action and punishment to these goons."
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also took note of the attack on the Navy veteran. Singh said the attack was "completely unacceptable and deplorable". "Spoke to retired naval officer, Shri Madan Sharma who was attacked by hooligans in Mumbai and enquired about his health. Such attacks on Ex-Servicemen is completely unacceptable and deplorable. I wish Madanji a speedy recovery," Singh tweeted.
Claim: Madan Sharma wasn't a member of the Navy.
Questions are being raised on social media about Sharma's service in the Navy. Many are claiming that he was in the Merchant Navy.
A Twitter user went ahead and even demanded Rajnath Singh's resignation for "not knowing the difference in MERCHANT NAVY & DEFENCE NAVY". She added, "Madan Sharma was working in MERCHANT NAVY. This is an insult of the Army and the post of Union Defence Minister."
Another Twitter user posted a screenshot of Sharma's alleged Facebook profile which mentions that he was with the Merchant Navy. Interestingly, the profile has no posts, no friends, and no other details apart from a photo of Sharma with a young boy. According to the profile, the account was created in July 2016.
Even if we consider the claims to be true, one wonders whether it is all right to thrash a person in the Merchant Navy and wrong to attack an ex-serviceman. However, the claims are completely false.
On Sunday, Sharma's ID card from the Navy surfaced on social media and ended the speculation. The ID card (MAH-01/013527) has the registration number "201814-W". On the ID card, Sharma's Regimen/Corps has been listed as "Navy" and his Rank was "CHEL(P) or Chief Electrical Power". Sharma's date of discharge was October 31, 1990.
Conclusion: His ID card clearly shows he is an ex-serviceman.