Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Sunday law will take precedence over political affiliations after his party’s workers were arrested for assaulting a retired officer of the Indian Navy, who forwarded a cartoon mocking Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Madan Sharma, the former Indian Navy officer, was assaulted on Friday in the Kandivali area of Mumbai allegedly by a group of workers of the ruling Shiv Sena.
“The law is always respected in Maharashtra. The accused were arrested immediately, irrespective of the party they were associated with,” Raut was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
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Raut said that the incident of assault could have happened to anyone. He pointed to the call made by defence minister Rajnath Singh and the number of attacks on ex-servicemen in Uttar Pradesh – a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled state – as well.
“Maharashtra is a big state. Something like this can happen to anyone. Do you know how many ex-servicemen have been attacked in UP? But the defence minister didn’t call them. Our government believes that no innocent person should be attacked,” Raut told ANI.
The Sena leader was referring to Singh’s call to the retired naval officer on Saturday.
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“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.
Sharma had forwarded Thackeray’s cartoon on a group on WhatsApp. The six Sena workers asked Sharma to meet them at his housing society’s gate in Thakur Complex. The six men, including shakha pramukh Kamlesh Kadam, then assaulted the ex-serviceman.