Thane: A 40-year-old engineer from Thane was allegedly brutally physically assaulted in the bungalow of the state's home minister Jitendra Awhad in Thane.
The alleged assault, according to a FIR filed in the matter, was over sharing a morphed mocking picture of the minister after the minister publicly refused to light a diya after the PM's appeal. His Facebook comment led to the thrashing; the complainant alleged in the FIR.
The complainant, Anant Karamuse (40), is a resident of the Anandnagar area of Kasaravadavali, Thane and is an engineer by profession. On his complaint, the Vartak Nagar police have registered a FIR against unknown persons under sections 365,143,144,147,148,324,506(2) of Indian Penal Code.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to Indians to switch off lights in their homes and light candles and diyas or turn on their mobile phone torches on Sunday night.
The symbolism was aimed at showing India's united fight against the epidemic. However, Minister Ahwad had expressed his opposition on Twitter and had refused to light a diya.
Furthermore, he had stated that his housing ministry was lighting more than 14,000 lamps by saving patients' lives through the setting up the of country's largest isolation ward and quarantine zone in Maharashtra, construction of which had been undertaken by his department.
Following this, Anant had put up a post on Facebook against Awhad, which led to the controversy as per Anant's statement to the police.
As per the complainant, four unknown men, including two policemen, picked him up from his residence and told him that he had to accompany them to the police station. He initially thought that this was regarding his Facebook post. When he enquired, he was told that he was been taken to the cybercrime branch office.
Anant has alleged in his complaint that instead, he was taken to Awhad's Nath bungalow near Viviana Mall in Thane. After the vehicle entered the bungalow, a total of 10 to 15 people armed with sticks allegedly started beating him up, as per the statement in the FIR.
According to the complainant, Awhad himself was present during the alleged beating. However, the minister has neither confirmed nor denied the fact. Anant apologized and deleted the post. He alleges that after the beating, an apology video was also recorded by the minister's men.
"A case was registered against unknown persons and a probe is on,” said Thane police PRO Sukhada Narkar. Meanwhile, the opposition has taken note of the alleged incident. "This is a very serious matter. We have demanded to the Thane Police Commissioner that he should take fair action against people responsible for this incident," said Niranjan Davkhare, President of BJP Thane city.
While the minister was himself unavailable for comment despite attempts to reach him, he has tweeted about the alleged incident. “Do you support this pervert? Will you tolerate this done against you or your family member. I don't support lawlessness,” tweeted Ahwad.