The Maharashtra State Women’s Commission on Wednesday served a notice to the right wing leader Sambhaji Bhide demanding explanation over his comment on a women journalist.
Bhide, who met the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at Mantralaya, stoked controversy after he told a new channel’s female journalist to apply ‘’bindi’’ on her forehead before coming to take his byte for the channel and refused to speak to her.
A video during Bhide's visit to Mantralaya on Wednesday went viral on social media. Bhide was recorded on camera while telling a news channel's female journalist to apply 'bindi' on her forehead before coming to take his byte for the channel and refused to speak to her. In the video, he went on to say that a woman is like Bharat Mata and she should not be like a widow by not applying a bindi.
Maharashtra State Women's Commission chairperson Rupali Chakankar in her notice to Bhide said, "You refused to talk to a female journalist because she had no bindi on her forehead. A woman is known by the quality of her work. Your statement is demeaning to a woman's pride and her social stature."
Chakankar said that the commission was taking note of his statement as it has led to angry comments from across the society.
"Under section 12(2) and 12(3) if state women's commission act, 1993, you are hereby asked to explain your position of not speaking with a female journalist because she was not wearing a bindi," it said.
The journalist of a television channel later tweeted that whether to apply bindi or not was her choice.
"It is my right to decide as to whether to apply bindi or not and when to apply it. We live in a democratic country," she tweeted, adding that one tends to respect the person due to his old-age. "But that person should also be qualified for the same," she tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson Dr Neelam Gorhe criticised Bhide for the violation of Constitutional rights of women to work without any restrictions.
‘’Bhide under the pretext of patriotism is dictating his terms to women that needs to be condemned,’’ she added.
Who is Sambhaji Bhide?
Shambhaji Bhide, popularly known as ‘Guruji’, is a Hindutva activist from Sangli district of Maharashtra. Bhide was a full-time Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak before he formed his own outfit Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan in 1980.
He came into national spotlight after then Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in January 2014 visited Sangli to meet him. Bhide has courted controversy in the past as well. He was booked for inciting the 2018 violence on Dalits in Bhima Koregaon, but never arrested. As the police later said that they found no evidence against him.
In 2019, when the MVA was shaping up, Bhide had gone to Matoshri in a bid to stop Uddhav Thackeray from snapping ties with the BJP. He was denied entry and had to return.