Mumbai: Six Shiv Sena workers arrested in connection with the attack on retired Navy officer, Madan Sahrma (65) on Friday, for forwarding a cartoon of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on a WhatsApp group, were granted bail soon after their arrest. Their release prompted the city BJP unit to stage a protest on Saturday, alleging political pressure and demanding that the Shiv Sainiks be booked under more stringent sections. “Such attacks on ex-servicemen are completely unacceptable and deplorable," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet following his conversation with Sharma. Sharma was attacked on Friday after he shared the cartoon on his housing society’s WhatsApp group. At around 12 pm, a group of party workers called Sharma down from his house at Thakur Complex, Kandivali and assaulted him.
In the attack, Sharma received an injury to his eye. Following the incident, the Samta Nagar police registered an offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections of voluntarily causing grievous hurt (325) and under sections of unlawful assembly and rioting. By late on Friday night, six of the attackers, including Kamlesh Kadam, a local Shakha Pramukh, were arrested by the police. The accused were released on bail soon after. After the accused were released, a delegation of city BJP leaders met Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Vishwas Nangare Patil, urging him to book the accused under non-bailable sections of 326 (causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons and means), and 452 and 450 (house-trespassing) However, after their request was declined, the BJP leaders including leader of opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Pravin Darekar, city BJP chief MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha and MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar, along with the victim's family members, staged a protest outside the Kandivali office of the Additional Commissioner of Police (North Region). Nangare Patil, who visited the protest site, denied any political interference and said, "Since the sections under which the accused were arrested were bailable, they were released on bail. The delegation was demanding that IPC sections 326 and 452 be added to the case. Section 326 amounts to the use of sharp weapons, while the other section can be added only after legal scrutiny".