Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has expelled five activists for allegedly beating up and blackening the face of Mallikarjun Bhaikatti, a Right to Information (RTI) activist, in Latur on Friday.
Shiv Sainiks had brutally beaten up and blackened the face of an RTI activist on Friday
“Heard of the unfortunate incident in Latur. The party strongly condemns the disgraceful act. Those involved have been removed from the party,” Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray tweeted on Saturday.
He, however, did not tweet anything on the Sudheendra Kulkarni incident on October 12. Shiv Sainiks had blackened the face of Kulkarni, a senior journalist and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) chairman, for organising a book release function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai.
On the different treatment to the two incidents, Sena spokesperson Arvind Bhosale had a reply. “It is wrong to compare Sudheendra Kulkarni with this blackmailer (Bhaikatti)… Kulkarni committed an act against the country and supported traitors,” was his logic.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had felicitated the Sainiks who had blackened Kulkarni’s face.
Bhosale had a further justification as to why the two incidents are different. “Local leaders in Latur were not taken into confidence by these attackers,” he said.
So, does this mean the Sena will act against its activists who take law into their hands? “Tomorrow, if a rapist is nabbed, this (assault) will be a normal reaction,” was Bhosale’s reply.
Those expelled for the Latur incident are Abhay Salunkhe, Hari Bhagat, Balaji Jadhav, Dhanu Sathe and Sumit Saudagar. Salunkhe is a former MNS district chief, who had contested the assembly elections from the Nilanga constituency and later joined the Sena.
“This was not a Shiv Sena programme. The Sena does not support such things. So we have removed these Sainiks from the party,” Sena sampark pramukh for Latur, Sanjay Sawant, told dna.
On Thursday, Shiv Sena Lok Sabha MP from Aurangabad, Chandrakant Khaire, was filmed abusing a tehsildar who was acting against religious encroachments in the city. However, there was no official statement from the party on Khaire’s act.
Bhaikatti had filed an RTI query against the Shiv Chhatrapati Shikshan Sanstha’s Rajarshi Shahu College in Latur, which started the Latur pattern of education that ensured that students from the district top SSC and HSC examinations.
Bhaikatti, who had held a press conference to expose the alleged irregularities in some construction in the college premises, was dragged and beaten in front of students and his face was blackened with ink.
The institution has former BJP Rajya Sabha MP Gopalrao Patil as president. Salunkhe is an ex-student of the college and former student union secretary.
The Sainiks claimed they were incensed that Bhaikatti was defaming Latur. Bhaikatti was admitted to a hospital and the police have detained 26 persons in connection with the incident, which has rocked the town, the home pitch of late chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Asked whether Latur would be the party’s last ink attack, Sena leaders were non-committal.
October 12: Shiv Sainiks blacken the face of senior journalist and ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was the organiser of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book release in Mumbai. Kulkarni is not unknown to the safforn brigade. He was an aide to former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. Sainiks justified the action calling Kulkarni a traitor.
October 30: Shiv Sainiks beat up and blacken the face of RTI activist Mallikarjun Bhaikatti. Bhaikatti had filed RTI applications against an education institution in Latur to expose its alleged irregularities. Sainiks describe him as a blackmailer. The party’s justification for expelling those who attacked him is that the local Sena leaders were not taken into confidence.