Marathi Actress Ketaki Chitale, Student Booked for 'Objectionable' Posts Against Sharad Pawar

While Chitale has an offence registered against her, the police arrested the student in question.

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New Delhi: Maharashtra Police swooped down on Marathi actress Ketaki Chitale and a 23-year-old pharmacy student on Saturday, May 14, for their alleged objectionable comments against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. While Chitale has an offence registered against her, the police arrested the student.

Chitale’s Facebook post in Marathi makes no direct mention of the NCP chief’s full name. But it mentions the surname ‘Pawar’ and the age of 80. The NCP patriarch is 81-year-old. Comments like “hell is waiting” and “you hate Brahmins” are part of the post that allegedly criticises the veteran leader, whose party shares power in Maharashtra with the Shiv Sena and the Congress.

The 23-year-old student, Nikhil Bhamre, who allegedly made an objectionable comment against Pawar on Twitter, is a resident of Satana in Nashik and was arrested by Dindori Police. In his tweet, he had allegedly said that the time had come to create “Baramati’s Nathuram Godse for the Gandhi of Baramati”. He had, however, not mentioned the name of any leader or political party in the tweet.

As for the case against Chitale, a police official said, “The offence against Chitale was registered at Kalwa police station in Thane on Saturday based on a complaint lodged by Swapnil Netke, who alleged that the actress posted objectionable content against Pawar, and her post might strain the relationship between the two political parties in the state further and create trouble.”

The case against Chitale was registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 500 (defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 505 (2) (making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes), 153 A (spreading disharmony among people), he said.

Meanwhile, in Pune, the NCP submitted a letter to the police demanding action against Chitale over her post. The NCP also demanded that the actress be arrested for the post.

Reacting to the post, Maharashtra housing development minister Jitendra Awhad said the youths attached to the NCP will register offences in “at least 100-200” police stations in Maharashtra in connection with the post.

Also read: Right-Wing Spreads Hatred, Takes Advantage of Religious Fault Lines: Pawar to Koregaon Bhima Panel

Some of the NCP leaders also sought to link the BJP and the RSS for such remarks being made against Pawar on social media. He said NCP workers will not tolerate such “hideous’ comments about their leader.

“Those who want to tolerate will tolerate. But we feel uneasy by reading something of this sort. Society will feel uneasy. In Maharashtra, our youth will go to at least 100-200 police stations to register offence He is the father of the family – that is NCP. He is everything for us and such hideous comments are made about him and that too by a woman!” Awhad told a news channel.

NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto said the actress had learnt from Maharashtra BJP leaders that the best way to get “cheap and free publicity” was to make derogatory statements against Pawar.

“They (BJP leaders) all have tried and failed, this lady will experience the same. Hope God grants her some sensibility,” Crasto tweeted.

“That criticism is condemnable She should not engage in such a criticism,” Maharashtra State Women’s Commission chairperson Rupali Chakankar told reporters in Nagpur.

As for the case against the student in question, a Nashik police official said, “After probing the tweet, Maharashtra Cyber had intimated Nashik rural police for further action.”

Nikhil Bhamre has been charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups), 500 (defamation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), he added.

Earlier, NCP leader Anand Paranjpe had lodged a complaint against Bhamre at Naupada police station in Thane city, following which a case was registered against him.

Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Jitendra Awhad had also tweeted to the Mumbai and Thane police commissioners and the state DGP to take strict action against Bhamre.

(With PTI inputs)